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Ethics Tribunal: Ecuador Violated Rights

August 15, 2014

Ethics Tribunal: Ecuador Violated Rights

Tribunal marked one-year anniversary of decision to drill Yasuní

Quito, Ecuador – On Friday the Rights of Nature Ethics Tribunal ruled that in the Ecuadorian government's ongoing push to drill Yasuní-ITT, one of the most biodiverse and culturally sensitive areas on the planet, the state violated several articles of its own constitution. Those include the rights of nature, the rights of indigenous communities living in voluntary isolation, the right to effective judicial protection and legal certainty, and the right to political participation.

The Tribunal is composed of environmental justice experts from Colombia, the Philippines, Canada, the United States, and Ecuador. It hears cases of alleged violations of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, and, for Ecuadorian cases, of the Ecuadorian Constitution. One year ago Friday, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa approved drilling of the ITT fields, effectively abandoning a previous proposal known as the Yasuní-ITT Initiative that sought to keep crude in the ground in exchange for international financial contributions.

The Tribunal ruled that by authorizing drilling in Yasuní National Park's ITT block and block 31, the government violated Article 57 of the Ecuadorian Constitution, which qualifies extractive activity in areas where there are communities living in voluntary isolation as ethnocide. The judges also ruled that by approving drilling in Yasuní, the government violated the much-publicized Rights of Nature clause.

After President Correa's decision to green-light drilling, thousands of youth organized under the name Yasunidos, mobilized to force a popular referendum on this issue. In the face of government repression, they collected over 750,000 signatures – 172,000 more than the required amount. However, in a process that was plagued with corruption, the National Electoral Commission proceeded to arbitrarily discard over half of the signatures, thus leaving Yasunidos with fewer than the required 584,000 names. An independent academic study confirmed that Yasunidos far surpassed the signature threshold. On Friday the Tribunal confirmed that by arbitrarily discarding hundreds of thousands of signatures, the National Electoral Commission violated Ecuadorians' right to political participation.

Yasunidos is currently monitoring the activity of oil companies in Ecuador. This includes state oil company Petroamazonas' "top-notch technology" claimed to be of use in Yasuní's block 31. Petroamazonas intends to use similarly questionable equipment to drill in Yasuní-ITT. Minister of the Environment Lorena Tapia, is currently investigating the company for a massive oil spill in July of this year, but in May she gave Petroamazonas the green-light to drill in ITT and continues to remain silent about the road in block 31. The Ecuadorian Constitution defines operations in blocks 31 and ITT as "ethnocide" because they are home to Ecuador's last communities living in voluntary isolation.

In September of this year, representatives from Yasunidos will travel to the UN Climate Summit in New York City in order to participate in the People's Climate March, the largest climate action in world history, and to educate a global audience about the threat of oil drilling in the Ecuadorian Amazon. They will join forces with movements around the globe that are fighting to keep the oil in the ground.

A member of the upcoming Yasunidos delegation to New York, Leonardo Cerda, says that "Petroamazonas' record shows that its 'top-notch technology' is far from operating according to its own established standards of environmental quality and social responsibility. Transitioning away from a dependence on petroleum is an unquestionable duty to Ecuador's citizenry and its environment, as well as a concrete demonstration of sensitivity to the victims of 40 years of dirty oil operations in the Northern Ecuadorian Amazon."

The Tribunal, which held its inaugural session in January 2014, is a permanent platform for hearing and judging violations of the rights of nature from around the world.

 

Latest news ...

16 December 2016, 17.23
Audubon.org Considered the most biodiverse place in the world, the Yasuní is in danger of being ruined through the exploitation of its natural resources. And time is running out to save it. The most biodiverse park on the planet can be a very noisy place—especially around sunset, when day-shift creatures cede the rainforest to those who roam and serenade the night. But on a late afternoon in April, the trails near Yasuní National Park's Yasuní Scientific Station are jarringly
21 September 2016, 15.21
The YASunidos Collecive defends life in all its manifestations and forms. Since our founding as a group and even before, we have supported the struggle of those who denounced the violence executed by the TEXACO company, of indigenous peoples and settler-colonists who for more than 20 years have sustained the most emblematic lawsuit in the history of Ecuador (and in large part, of the planet) denouncing the environmental and social devastation that this company has generated in order to extract crude
19 May 2016, 17.04
by YASunidos For twelve days in May local, national and global groups from all over the planet held actions in six continents and 13 countries under the banner to "break free from fossil fuels". It was an unprecedented wave of peaceful direct action, in many cases including children and elders, warning governments and corporations that the era of dirty fossils has come to an end. We will not stand by while they sell our
13 April 2016, 16.07
by UN News Centre 12 April 2016 – Welcoming Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa to the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said the world needs a new vision for urbanization – a "New Urban Agenda" – to help protect the environment and limit climate
07 April 2016, 12.40
by Amazon Watch, Kevin Koenig Last week, the Ecuadorian government announced that it had begun constructing the first of a planned 276 wells, ten drilling platforms, and multiple related pipelines and production facilities in the ITT (Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini) oil field, known as Block 43, which overlaps Yasuní National Park in Ecuador's Amazon rainforest. Coupled with the recent signing of two new oil concessions on the southern border of Yasuní and plans to launch another oil lease auction
04 April 2016, 15.49
by Huffpost Green, Alexandra Valencia QUITO, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Ecuador's parliament on Thursday authorized drilling of the nation's largest oil fields in part of the Amazon rainforest after the failure of President Rafael Correa's plan to have rich nations pay to avoid its
04 April 2016, 15.33
First of 200 wells drilled close to controversial block of forest known to have two of the last tribes living in isolation by The
16 March 2016, 16.06
by Human Rights Watch Correa Cracks Down on Environmental
15 March 2016, 17.50
by Jonathan Watts, the guardian Environmentalists devastated as president blames lack of foreign support for collapse of pioneering conservation
09 March 2016, 11.05
Ende Gelände Ende Gelände (Here and no Further) for lignite coal in Lusatia: climate justice in action! In 2016, the farewell to coal continues: Vattenfall, owner of the coal field in Lusatia is trying to sell its German lignite coal branch. This is a unique chance to finally close down opencast pits and coal power stations and to show that it is possible to phase-out coal in a socially and ecologically responsible
25 February 2016, 12.24
globalpost.com by Kamilia Lahrichi AMAZON RAINFOREST, Ecuador — In one of the most ecologically diverse corners of the planet, a small tribe is fending off oil corporations that want to drill their ancestral land. It takes first a bumpy 20-minute drive from the city of Tena, then a two-hour journey on a rudimentary canoe to meet the Daya family, one of the few Huaorani communities in the Amazon rainforest who have not yet abandoned their traditional
04 February 2016, 11.14
by Mongabay There is fear that oil exploitation will lead to widespread soil, groundwater, and surface stream contamination. The government claims to have organized a free, prior and informed consultation, but critics disagree. The Sápara say they are ready to follow the Sarayaku example and bring their case to national and international courts in order to avoid the drilling of blocks 79 and 83. The Ecuadorian government has signed two contracts with the China-based Andes Petroleum
03 February 2016, 15.19
Pachamama Alliance The indigenous people in this region are strongly opposed to any plans for oil development and vow to resist and stop these projects. They know the environmental and social disaster that oil development will bring. On January 26 the government of Ecuador formally signed exploration contracts for two Amazonian oil blocks—known as blocks 79 and 83—with Chinese state oil company, Andes Petroleum. The Ecuadorian government also announced plans to open up 16 other oil blocks
08 January 2016, 17.06
Mondiaal Nieuws The Yasuni territory in Ecuador is under pressure because of oil reserves found underneath the nature reserve. Here in ParisYasunidos wages action during the climate summit. Their proposal gives a voice to the local population, protects the Yasuni territory and is an answer for the global challenge of climate
07 January 2016, 15.36
Amazon Watch Yasunidos Defends Signatures and Denounces Electoral Irregularities Quito, Ecuador – Just five days after turning in more than enough signatures to qualify for a national referendum to stop oil drilling plans in a critical part of Ecuador's Yasuni National Park, Yasunidos, the civil society collective spearheading the grassroots effort is denouncing what appear to be egregious irregularities by the National Election Commission
07 January 2016, 15.25
Amazon Watch Experts Say Move Could Set Precedent for Future Disputes Between Environmentalists, Government and Industry By Mercedes Alvaro, Wall Street Journal A coalition opposed to a new oil development in a national park in Ecuador's Amazon rain forest say they have collected enough signatures to force a referendum on the activity, which experts say could set a precedent for future disputes between environmentalists, the government and

Documentaries Videos

Documentaries and videos

Climate Action Week: This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein | Capitalism vs The Climate

 

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Message from Dr. Vandana Shiva to the Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa

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I am Yasuní

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Yasuní-ITT. A Post-Oil Initiative

 

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