Protestors fighting for free access to water (Credit: La Hora)
Just like the armes of a river thousands of indigenous people stream in towards the capital of Ecuador, Quito. The protestors of this "march for water, life and human dignity" are criticising their government's economic model which is focusing on the mining and oil industry. Support the cause for free access to clean water
"Water is not for sale, it has to be defended!“ and "Water is life“ – these are the cries of thousands marching in protest from all parts of the country. The traditional usage of natural water resources is the basis of existance for most Ecuadorians. Here, water is not a trade product but rather a common good. The free access to natural and clean water resources is considered a human right, which was even stipulated in the constitution in 2008. However, more and more conflicts around the usage of the water resources are arising between the industry and the general public.
Mining is devouring water resources
The demonstrators are demanding their natural resources should not be sacrificed to the dismantling of raw material, as mining swallows up enormous amounts of water. For example, the mine "Mirador“ in the Ecuadorian province Zamora Chinchipe on the border of Peru uses up some astonishing 140 litres of water per second. These add up to two million litres per day which are removed from the surrounding rivers and as a result are not available in the neighbouring areas. This is a huge problem as the local population is depending on this water for farming and rearing of livestock. The mine "Mirador“ is just one of many suchlike projects in Ecuador.
Please sign the following letter to president Rafael Correa and show your solidarity with the Ecuadorian people and their demand for free access to water and the right to a clean environment.
El 22 de marzo miles de personas llegan a Quito inundando la ciudad como gotas de agua. No quieren sobrevivir en un país devastado por la contaminación minera y petrolera, No quieren ríos muertos, ni gente enferma, ni animales extinguidos, ni la selva destruida. Por eso, marchan defensa del agua, de los territorios, de la soberanía de los pueblos, del bien común y desde el respeto a la naturaleza.
Expreso mi solidaridad con las mujeres y hombres que caminan en la Marcha por la Vida, y acompaño solidariamente sus demandas para que usted escuche a su pueblo y le pido que:
Garantice el derecho al agua y su uso para el buen vivir No lleve a cabo la minería a gran escala. Derogue la ley minera por ser inconstitucional y rompa el contrato minero que firmó con ECSA el 5 de marzo. No extienda la frontera petrolera. Suspenda las operaciones del bloque 31. No lleve a cabo los megaproyectos eléctricos que generan enormes impactos sociales y ambientales. No firme un acuerdo de Libre Comercio con la Unión Europea. No criminalice la protesta social y elimine los juicios pendientes a dirigentes y líderes sociales. Cumpla el derecho a la consulta previa en las comunidades del Ecuador. Respete la jurisdicción de la justicia indígena y los gobiernos comunitarios. No agreda verbalmente a las mujeres, los pueblos, las nacionalidades y las organizaciones sociales
Respete la autonomía de los pueblos y nacionalidades y la autodeterminación de los pueblos Preserve lugares naturales de valor incalculable actualmente amenazados por proyectos extractivos: Cordillera del Cóndor, el Parque Nacional Yasuní, la zona de Intag, Molleturo, Limón, Santa Isabel, Esmeraldas o el Kimsacocha y muchos otros.
Dear Mr. President Rafael Correa,
On the 22nd of march thousands of people are pouring into Quito like a gush of water. They are not willing to simply survive in a country which is being destroyed by mining and oil contamination. They are neither willing to accept dead rivers nor sick people nor the extinction of animals nor the destruction of the forests. For this reason, the people are marching to defend the sovereignty of their villages, water as a common good and general respect for nature.
I would like to express my solidarity with these men and women who are marching for life and I support their demand which is that you, Mr. President, pay due respect to your people's wishes. In this sense I ask you
- to guarantee the right to water and its usage as a common good
- to stop giant mining projects, to abolish the current mining law due to unconstitutionality and to annul the contract with the corporation ECSA concerning the mine „Mirador“
- to stop the expansion of oil spills and to suspend the operations in sector 31
- to dismiss the building plans for giant hydropower plants and thus avoid enormous social and ecological consequences
- not to sign a free trade agreement with the European Union
- not to criminalize social protest and to abandon the legal prosecution of indigenous and peasant's spokespeople
- to comply with the free and independent right to consultation of the indigenous communities
- to respect the competence of the indigenous judiciary on a communal level
- to ensure the autonomy and self-determination of the indigenous groups of Ecuador
- to conserve the irreplaceable natural ecosystems which are currently threatened by mining projects: Cordillera del Condor, the Yasuni National Park, Intag, Molleturo, Limón, Santa Isabel, Esmeraldas or Kimsacocha and many more.