This morning, the government of Ecuador entered the offices of Fundación Pachamama in Quito and shut down their services. Backlash against our indigenous allies and partners at Fundación Pachamama has heated up since last Thursday’s announcement of the failure of the XI Round oil bidding process. On Saturday, in his weekly telecast to the nation of Ecuador, President Correa accused our allies of fomenting dissent and violence. In defense of its work to defend human rights and the rights of nature, Fundación Pachamama released the statement below on Monday. Please stay tuned as we learn more.
Quito, December 2, 2013 – Fundación Pachamama, an Ecuadorian non-profit organization with 16+ years working in defense of the Human Rights of Amazon Indigenous Peoples and Rights of Nature, exercises its democratic right to freedom of speech and considers it necessary to state its position regarding the XI Round and the opinions expressed in the Enlace Ciudadano No. 350 regarding our organization:
Fundación Pachamama regrets, in the first place, that the Ecuadorian government convened the XI Oil Round that affects more than three million hectares of mega-diverse Amazon rainforests, which constitute the ancestral territory of seven Amazon indigenous nationalities. It is worrisome that the government continues fostering exploration and exploitation in the Amazon without having adequately implemented free, prior and informed consultation processes with the indigenous nationalities. Furthermore, the development of this process has generated conflicts and has divided the Amazon population, indicating clearly the lack of respect of the democratic indigenous governance system, which is a product of the democratic expression of the base communities. On November 28th, 2013, we saw how the oil industry did not respond favorably to the XI Oil Round, which we believe should lead the authorities to reflect on whether or not the bidding process should continue with such conditions.
We have the right to dissent the decision of the authorities, the process that has been implemented and alternatively propose that the oil remain underground to preserve one of the greatest riches of our country, its cultural and biological diversity. The current Constitution obliges the government to find a new development model that respects our country’s Pluri-nationality, Human Rights, Rights of Nature and “Sumak Kawsay” or “Living “Forest.”
Fundación Pachamama also extends its solidarity with the Amazon nationalities and peoples defending their territory. We believe it is illegitimate to implement processes affecting indigenous territories and not include the presidents of indigenous nationalities and peoples that have been elected by their people and are recognized by the “Development Council of the Nationalities and Peoples of Ecuador” (CODENPE).
Our support is grounded in the tools that the government and the rule of law provides to safeguard constitutional rights. We have been doing so throughout the years as we have stood by, among others, the struggle of the community of Sarayaku in the Inter-American System of Human Rights. Under no circumstances, do we support actions outside the rights granted by the Constitution. We defend the right to protest peacefully and reject the use of violence from any side.
Dissenting to government policies and defending constitutional rights are inherent to democracy and we are not willing to give up their exercise. We consider this position to be coherent with the mission of our organization, therefore we reject any act that seeks to impede or make our work difficult.