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  • Members of the Waorani community march in Ecuador to demand the ratification of a ruling that denies their self-determination.

    Members of the Waorani community march in Ecuador to demand the ratification of a ruling that denies their self-determination. | Photo: EFE

Published 17 May 2019

The Waorani release accused the state of continuing to ignore rights that are enshrined in the Constitution and international agreements.

Following the historic legal victory of the Waorani communities, after the Court of Penal Guarantees of Pastaza ruled in favor of their rights to free and informed consultation and self-determination, hundreds of members of Indigenous communities made their way to Quito, Ecuador to publicly demand that their lives, territories and self-determination be respected. 

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Along with the Waorani communities were the Sapara, Kichwa, Shuar, Achuar, Shiwiar and the Indigenous organizations CONAIE and CONFENIAE. The demonstration of resistance by the 16 Waorani communities of Pastaza and the Indigenous Nationalities of the Amazon is supported by other social sectors and academics who view the process as a historic opportunity to strengthen the fight against conservatism. 

After the march, the groups gathered at the closed doors of the Ministry of Energy and Non-Renewable Natural Resources.

One minister left in his vehicle accompanied by a bodyguard. Another second bodyguard was dragged at least 50 meters while trying to board the moving vehicle.

A Waorani release recalled the incident and noted that "if this is how he treats his own people, what can we expect of his treatment of our communities?"

Lina Maria Espinosa, a lawyer for the 16 Pastaza communities, stated that "the Waorani sentence confirms as an irrefutable fact that the right to free, informed and prior consultation has been systematically violated by the State at different times in different territories. It is worrisome that the Executive, with the intention of imposing oil, mining and hydroelectric projects on their territories, as well as the territories of Campesino communities, continues to violate this right."

The release also said that the state continues to ignore rights enshrined in the Constitution, international agreements, and the judicial sentences that have condemned the state for violating them in favor of economic policy based on the extraction of natural resources.


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