Ecuador Amazon tribe win first victory against oil companies

After two weeks of deliberations, a criminal court in Puyo, Ecuador, accepted a Waorani tribe bid for court protection in Pastaz
After two weeks of deliberations, a criminal court in Puyo, Ecuador, accepted a Waorani tribe bid for court protection in Pastaza province to stop an oil bidding process

Ecuador's Waorani indigenous tribe won their first victory Friday against big oil companies in a ruling that blocks the companies' entry onto ancestral Amazonian lands for oil exploration activities.

After two weeks of deliberations, a criminal in Puyo, central Ecuador, accepted a Waorani bid for court protection in Pastaza province to stop an oil bidding process after the government moved to open up around 180,000 hectares for exploration.

The lands are protected under Ecuador's constitution that establishes the "inalienable, unseizable and indivisible" rights of indigenous people "to maintain possession of their ancestral lands and obtain their free adjudication."

Crucially, however, the wealth in the subsoil is owned by the state.

The constitution also enshrines the need for prior on any plans to exploit the underground resources, given the probable environmental and cultural impacts on tribal communities.

The state reached an agreement with the Waorani over oil in 2012, but the tribe's leaders say they were duped.

The judges ordered the government to conduct a new consultation, applying standards set by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, based in San Jose.

The ruling "has created a significant precedent for the Amazon," said Lina Maria Espinosa, attorney for the plaintiffs, outside court.

"It has been demonstrated that there was no consultation and that the state violated the rights of this people, and therefore of other peoples."

The Waorani, who number around 4,800, also inhabit other Amazonian provinces.


Explore further

Ecuador's Waorani tribe vows to protect life in Amazon

© 2019 AFP

Citation: Ecuador Amazon tribe win first victory against oil companies (2019, April 27) retrieved 22 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-ecuador-amazon-tribe-victory-oil.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
369052 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Apr 29, 2019
This is fantastic news for Ecuador's indigenous people, preventing further oil exploration in a large part of the Amazon. Now, fingers crossed that the Canadian courts will hold Chevron accountable for the $12B+ in damages it owes for the cleanup of its horrific pollution in the Ecuadorian Amazon. That would be real justice.

Apr 29, 2019
Well there goes their chances for casinos and theme parks.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more