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  • Indigenous peoples in the Amazonian region, Ecuador, 2020.

    Indigenous peoples in the Amazonian region, Ecuador, 2020. | Photo: Twitter / @AJTheTake

Published 5 August 2020
Opinion

"We will not remain silent while our lands continue to be contaminated," Carlos Jipa warned.

Ecuador's Indigenous peoples organizations Tuesday launched the international campaign "Stop Extraction in the Amazon", which seeks to protect their communities in the region.

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The initiative aims to strengthen the agenda of Indigenous organizations and promote strategic actions such as demanding the suspension of the oil flow through Ecuador's main pipelines.

Due to a land sinking that took place on April 7, parts of both the Trans-Ecuadorean Oil Pipeline System (SOTE) and the Heavy Crude Oil Pipeline (OCP) were broken. This accident provoked oil spills in the Coca and Napo rivers, which left over 27,000 people without food and water, who were struggling to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since then, "state authorities, oil companies, and even the judicial system have failed to meet with citizen protection measures," the Amazon Frontlines lawyer Maria Espinosa said.

She also pointed out that "the Ecuadorean State has systematically violated the human and collective rights of Indigenous peoples, privileging corporate and extractive interests for decades."

Indigenous organizations warned that the tributary wear "is advancing rapidly", which would cause the release of large amounts of sediment, floods, destruction of riparian communities and would cause a new oil spill.

"We will not remain silent while our lands continue to be contaminated by oil and threatened by another spill," the Federation of Communes of People Born in the Ecuadorean Amazon (FCUNAE) President Carlos Jipa warned.

Last June, Indigenous organizations asked Ecuadorean judges for protection because of the severity of the damages caused by the oil spill. The hearing, however, remains suspended.

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