Ecuador’s XI Oil Round promotion continued to face protest as it wrapped up its international roadshow.
On April 17th, Ecuador’s government officials met with investors and oil company executives in Calgary, Canada where, according to the Wall Street Journal and Amazon Watch, labor unionists, aboriginal activists, and environmentalists demonstrated against its oil round licensing efforts.
Calgary was the final stop for Ecuador’s officials, who also held meetings in Quito, Houston, Paris, and Beijing.
Protesters Persistent as XI Oil Round Wraps Up International Promotion Efforts
Michelle Thrush, a Gemini Award-winning Canadian actress and activist delivered a declaration of opposition from five of the seven indigenous nationalities that face risk of devastation if Ecuador allows oil exploration and drilling to occur. See the video of the delivery and read the declaration here (.pdf download).
Adam Zuckerman of Amazon Watch has also stated, “None of the seven indigenous groups living in the rainforest territory has given approval for this massive auctioning of the Amazon. Any oil company considering making a bid can anticipate relentless resistance from these peoples.”
Protests like this were also held in Quito, Houston, and Paris, and Avaaz.org has gathered more than a million petition signatures protesting the oil round.
Government Denies Oil Round Promotion Violates Indigenous Human Rights
The indigenous nationalities that will be affected by the oil round say the government has not obtained free, prior, and informed consent from them, thereby failing to employ an internationally recognized human rights principle that protects indigenous communities from outside activities that could adversely harm the lands they live and/or rely on.
Amazon Watch also notes that the oil round licensing, “…is in direct violation of the Inter-American Court on Human Rights July ruling in favor of the Kichwa community of Sarayaku stating that the government must properly consult with indigenous communities prior to oil operations and pay for physical and ‘moral’ damages to the community.”
Defending its actions, Ecuador’s government claims the XI Oil Round does not go against its constitution that gives rights to nature, or break any Ecuadorian laws.
Up for grabs are almost 10,000,000 acres of pristine rainforest that has been divided into thirteen blocks. Investors and oil companies have until May to make an offer, and winning bidders must sign contracts by November.