Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

January 25, 2014

Ecuador abandoning high standard of defending Rights of Nature

Ponca Casey Camp in Ecuador/Photo courtesy Pennie Opal Plant

Addressing Host Country Ecuador’s Own Rights of Nature Challenges

During the Rights of Nature Tribunal on January 17, 2014, in Quito, Ecuador, eight cases were heard as 400 representatives gathered from around the world. Pachamama Alliance reports that Ecuador is abandoning its high standards:

It is fitting that the Tribunal on the Rights of Nature was founded in Ecuador, the first country to have adopted this legal doctrine in its constitution. It is ironic that Ecuador is abandoning its leadership and failing to respect its own constitution. The Ecuadorian government is currently promoting large-scale oil and mining operations that put at risk some three million hectares of its remaining Amazon rainforests while engaging in a systematic crack down on activists and organizations who are defending the rights of Mother Earth.
During his passionate argument for admitting the Yasuni-ITT case, Alberto Acosta asked the Tribunal to establish a special chamber for the immediate processing of two cases: the Yasuní-ITT and the defenders of Rights of Nature, given urgent threats facing activists who are collecting signatures for a national referendum on the Yasuni-ITT. Additionally, he asked the Tribunal to demand the suspension of all oil exploitation activities in block 31 and in ITT block and called for a comprehensive audit of the exploitation activities underway.
“I condemn the actions of Chevron and BP and I stand with those indigenous communities who have won their case against Chevron,” said Vandana Shiva. “I ask Ecuador’s President and the National Assembly to not give up the vision, the dream of Yasuni. Everyone can drill, but Ecuador would dream bold by having the rights of nature in its constitution and creating the vision of Yasuni ITT.” In closing, Dr. Shiva called for the cases that were admitted by the Tribunal “to be deepened until the rights of Mother Earth become the framework for governing our lives.”
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