Is this the end of the Rights of Nature in Ecuador?

All was reasonably “well” until last year when representatives of transnational mining companies had a meeting with President Correa  and persuaded him to relax the mining laws of Ecuador.

Put simply, these “reforms” violate the country’s constitution and are a direct threat to the Rights of Nature and the Rights of Indigenous Nations. The “reformed” law clearly states that mining can develop in any part of the country. This means that the safeguards that were previously in place to protect The Rights of Nature and Human Rights have been effectively abolished.

WHY? Is it because Ecuador has borrowed more than 17 Billion Dollars from the Chinese and has guaranteed to pay the money back through commodity sales, 17 Billion Dollars worth of Commodity Sales?

Indigenous take action

After the leaders from  Peru and Ecuador reunited in Bomboiza, the president of  CONAIE, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, Humberto Cholango, presented a default action in the Constitutional Court on July 9th.  He declared that in March 2010 a Constitutional ruling was issued requiring the National Assembly to consult with Indigenous Peoples and Nations before approving any amendments to the Mining Act.

CONAIE presented a default action in the Constitutional Court

CONAIE presented a default action in the Constitutional Court. Photo:API

He stated that there has been no such consultation  and that the Assembly must  call a pre-legislative consultation, otherwise the reform is unconstitutional and illegal.

He also stated that CONAIE will do everything possible in  order to keep mining out of their communities.  CONAIE will continue to organize their resistance to this law because this is a law that Ecuador cannot accept.

ECUARUNARI delivered a seven page lawsuit to the Constitutional Court

ECUARUNARI delivered a seven page lawsuit to the Constitutional Court. Photo: @AngelitoCordova

The next day, on the 10th of July, ECUARUNARI, one of three major regional groupings that constitute  CONAIE,  delivered a seven-page lawsuit to the Constitutional Court with the same, and  two additional demands:

  1.  That  the Assembly adopts the law of prior consultation.
  2.  That  the Assembly and Government leave instructions for pre-legislative consultations over the development of oil fields in the East and the Center South of Ecuador.

They have informed the Constitutional Court that if they do not  accept the order, then the Indigenous Nations will take their case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

This is a difficult situation and the struggle to maintain the Rights of Nature and Human Rights in Ecuador will continue both “in” and “out” of the courts.

David Dene. July 2013.

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