American Court of Human Rights will judge Ecuador for granting an oil concession to the Argentinian company CGC in 1996 to explore and exploit oil on ancestral lands of the indigenous Kichwa Sarayaku in a two-day hearing that starts today in San Jose.
There, the Court will hear testimony from Sarayaku community leaders, government representatives and experts as rapporteur for indigenous people of the United Nations, James Anaya, and anthropologist Rodrigo Villagra. After years of opposition of the Sarayaku people (inhabited by 1,200 people), the contract was canceled in 2010.
In late 2002 and early 2003, “Ecuadorian soldiers and workers of the company entered the territory by force, opened trails, introduced highly dangerous explosivesand deforested forest areas, including trees and plants with sacred and cultural value to the community. In addition, Sarayaku leaders were threatened and harassed for their work in defense of territory against the illegal entry of the company,” said the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), which represents the indigenous people.
The organization added that the Ecuadorian State has not complied with the protective measures ordered by the Court, to guarantee the life and physical integrity of the villagers. (MS)
Source: AFP and EFE