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.
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.
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:
- That the Assembly adopts the law of prior consultation.
- 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.