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Peru and Ecuador Set to Auction Off More Amazon for Oil

Pese a existir innumerables noticias, investigaciones y miles de pruebas sobre los altos niveles de contaminación en la Amazonía, causados por la explotación y exploración de pozos de petróleo de empresas extranjeras, los gobiernos de Perú y Ecuador anunciaron que cederán más territorio amazónico a entidades petroleras en los siguientes meses del año: en Noviembre la empresa Petroperú abarcará miles de hectáreas en Loreto.

Foto: Difusión

Even as indigenous people struggle to cope with current levels of contamination and illness caused by years of oil production in the Amazon, the governments of Peru and Ecuador are preparing to sell off even more Amazonian territory to the oil industry in coming months.

Starting in November, Peru’s state-run leasing agency Petroperu plans to start auctioning licenses to 36 new oil blocks for exploration, 19 of them in the northern region of Loreto. Just across the border, Ecuador is set to lease at least 13 blocks on or near waterways that eventually flow south into Peru and join the Amazon River.

Many of the blocks overlap or abut protected areas and indigenous territories and threaten the forests and rivers that indigenous people and other river people depend on for their lives.

Indigenous groups are rallying to stop their governments’ plans, and some talk of making a stand for a total moratorium on all exploration until both countries come up with a regional environmental plan.

“Oil production is an activity that definitely alters our territory, our environment, our health and our culture,” said Alfonso Lopez Tejada, leader of the federation of 57 indigenous Kukama communities along the Maranon river region in Peru, where three new lots overlap Kukama communities and threaten the famous Pacaya Samiria National Reserve.

“Again they impose these lots on us just as they did not consult us when they leased our territories before,” Lopez said.

In Ecuador, indigenous groups are planning demonstrations and marches to protest the new round of concessions begin on November 28.

“We are defending our land. We won’t allow oil activity,” said Franco Viteri, president of a Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorean Amazon (Confeniae), according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.

Ecuadorian indigenous leaders say they will make an appeal to the country’s Constitutional Court.

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Ecuador: Inter-American Court Ruling Marks Key Victory for Indigenous Peoples

Después de 8 años de batalla legal, la Corte Interamericana votó a favor de la Comunidad Indígena “Sarayaku”, localizada en la Amazonia Ecuatoriana,  con el propósito de defender sus derechos humanos, sus propiedades de tierra e identidad cultural. Toda la historia en el siguiente artículo:

A regional human rights court has come down in favour of the Sarayaku Indigenous community in the Ecuadorian Amazon in what Amnesty International has called a key victory for Indigenous Peoples.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ruling in Sarayaku v. Ecuador, made public on Wednesday, ends a decade-long legal battle by the Sarayaku Indigenous People – backed by their lawyers Mario Melo and the Centre for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) – after a foreign oil company was allowed to encroach on their traditional lands in the early 2000s without consultation with the Sarayaku.

Celebrating from his community, Sarayaku leader José Gualinga said, “the Sarayaku are extremely satisfied with this victory, reached thanks to the efforts of our people and the help and solidarity of organizations devoted to the rights of Indigenous Peoples”.

Mario Melo, the community’s lawyer, explained that “this favourable ruling for the Sarayaku is the fruit of a large effort on the part of the community’s people, who were key players in every step of the process. For that alone this deserves to be recognized as a milestone in the ongoing struggle of Indigenous Peoples to reclaim their rights”.

The IACHR found that the Ecuadorian state violated the community’s right to be consulted, as well as their community property rights and their cultural identity.

The Costa Rica-based Court also found Ecuador responsible for putting the life and physical integrity of the Sarayaku at grave risk, after the oil company placed more than 1,400 kg of high-grade explosives on the Indigenous People’s territory.

Un viaje a los interiores de la comunidad “Sarayaku”