On February 26th, organizations Avaaz, Amazon Watch, and the Paris-based Planéte Amazon, staged a pro-preservation oil drilling simulation just outside the Paris hotel where Ecuadorian government officials met with European oil investors to promote its XI international oil round.
The oil round, which threatens to devastate more than 4 million hectares of pristine Amazon rainforest, and severely impact seven indigenous nationalities that have lived in the area for generations, has received strong public protest. In recent weeks, Avaaz has collected more than a million signatures from around the world in support of its petition asking Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa to honor the country’s progressive constitution that gives rights to nature.
In Ecuador’s 2006 elections, Correa campaigned as someone who would support the environment and indigenous communities. As President, he has led efforts to include rights of nature in Ecuador’s constitution, and is also responsible for developing the Yasuní-ITT initiative that asks the international community for payments in exchange for leaving crude oil located under Yasuní National Park unexploited.
The Paris oil drilling simulation urges President Correa to continue to uphold his reputation as a “Green President” by halting the oil round concessions that would violate the Ecuadorian constitution, and open up an area the size of the Netherlands for oil exploration as early as December of this year.
The widespread international support the movement has received thus far has given its campaign leaders optimism. Kichwa Community Leader Patricio Jipa stated, “Indigenous peoples are fighting to protect the environment. Our voice is now stronger with the support of everyone who has joined our collective battle cry.”
In addition to this demonstration, there have been actions all over the world in protest of the XI oil round since it was announced last fall.
Read About the Recent Protest in Houston,TX