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  • An Indigenous woman shows oil residues on her hand in Orellana province, Ecuador, Aug. 31, 2020.

    An Indigenous woman shows oil residues on her hand in Orellana province, Ecuador, Aug. 31, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 2 September 2020
Opinion

Their lawyer said that the judge's decision will be appealed in national or international courts.

In Ecuador, a provincial court Tuesday denied a protection action requested by social organizations for Indigenous peoples who were victims of an oil spill in the Amazon.

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The Criminal Unit Judge Jaime Oña rejected a lawsuit that requested the adoption of precautionary measures to protect the victims, arguing that those affected can resort to administrative procedures.

The judge issued a null ruling "if the constitutional provisions and the human rights involved are taken into account," the Amazon Frontlines' lawyer Maria Espinosa said, adding that the judge's decision will be appealed in national courts and, if necessary, in international courts.

Espinosa considered that a vision that took into account the "multicultural nature" of the event was lacking, adding that this is the consequence of a "lack of timely, immediate and prompt action by companies and the State," affecting the lives of 27,000 people, who the vast majority were Indigenous.

On April 7, three oil pipelines running from the Amazon region to the coastal zone broke as a result of a landslide in a highly seismic area located between the Orellana and Sucumbios provinces.

The lawsuit was filed against the companies operating the Trans-Ecuadorean Pipeline System (SOTE) and the Heavy Crude Oil Pipeline (OCP), the Ministries of Energy, Environment, and Public Health, and the State Prosecutor's Office.

The Federation of United Communes of Natives of the Ecuadorean Amazon (FCUNAE) President Carlos Jipa described the sentence as "an injustice for all the Kichwa nationalities of Orellana" and its 43 affected communes.

He also announced that they will follow legal actions so that their voices "are heard and respected."

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