Stop oil drilling in Ecuador's Yasuní National Park!

Forest canopy in Yasuní National Park, Ecuador Tell the fossil fuel industry: hands off! (© Pato Chavez)
115,920 supporters

End of campaign: Apr 27, 2016

Ecuador’s government is about to issue yet another oil drilling license in Yasuní National Park – one of the most biodiverse places on the planet and home to uncontacted indigenous people. Please speak out against this looming environmental and social disaster.

Call to action

To: President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa; Vice-President of Ecuador, Jorge Glass; Environment Minister Lorena Tapia; Minister of Justice and Minister of Human Rights and Religion, Dr. Ledy Zúñiga

Prevent oil drilling in the territory of the uncontacted Tagaeri and Taromenani peoples and protect the region’s exceptional biodiversity.

Read letter

The YASunidos – the defenders of the Yasuní – know from bitter experience that oil drilling inevitably leads to irreversible damage to fragile rainforest ecosystems.

Oil is already being extracted in parts of Yasuní National Park. Now, a further drilling license is about to be issued for Yasuní, which has become a worldwide symbol of resistance against the fossil fuel industry. The license for Block 55, or Campo Armadillo, is currently being processed by the Ecuadorian Ministry of the Environment.

YASunidos spokesperson Pato Chavez demands that the ministry categorically reject all forms of resource extraction in Yasuní to protect the uncontacted indigenous people living there. Oil drilling would also have “disastrous consequences for the fragile and threatened existence” of the territory, says attorney Pablo Piedras. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), 33 species in the area are threatened by extinction.

As recently as 2009, the Ecuadorian government sought to protect “Armadillo Country”, as the territory is commonly known, and put a stop to oil exploration due to evidence of uncontacted Tagaeri and Taromenane peoples living there. Article 57 of the Ecuadorian constitution describes resource extraction in Taromenane territories as “ethnocide”.

In 2013, however, the Ecuadorian government revised their assessment of the presence of Tagaeri and Taromenane in area and publicly stated that no uncontacted people were living in Campo Armadillo, clearing the way for oil drilling there.

Numerous organizations that have spent years working to protect indigenous people living in voluntary isolation have written an open letter to the Ecuadorian government. Please support their call for a stop to oil drilling in Block 55.

Back­ground

OPEN LETTER TO:

Economist, Rafael Correa D.

PRESIDENT OF ECUADOR

Engineer, Jorge Glas E.

VICE PRESIDENT OF ECUADOR

Dr. Lorena Tapia

MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT

Dr. Ledy Zúñiga R.

MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Dear Sirs & Madams,

We wish to express our profound concern with the Ministry of Environment’s pending decision to license oil block 55, (commonly known as “Armadillo Country”) an area which saw the deaths of both Hector España and Luis Castellanos in 2005 and 2008 respectively. The area is home to “Indigenous Peoples Living in Voluntary Isolation” whose presence in this region has been documented by more than 5,000 reports and testimonials (many of them recent) including those by the Ministry of Environment and the government’s own “Protective Measures Plan.” Be warned that petroleum operations in this area of block 55 would be fatal both for the Indigenous Peoples living there in voluntary isolation as well as the credibility of your government and its recognition of the rights of the Tagaeri and Taromenane.

Remember that according to the “National Policy on Indigenous People living in Voluntary Isolation” the state must:

  • •Guarantee the ancestral ownership of the territories in which these people live and on which they depend for their subsistence and the sanctity of both.
  • •Guarantee their mobility according their own cultural patterns
  • •Understand that the presence of the Tagaeri, Taromenani, and others living in voluntary isolation, requires that vast areas of the Yasuní National Park must be preserved in good condition.
  • •Ensure that extractive activities in Amazonia will never lead to their extermination nor be justified as “inevitable collateral damage.”

“Strategic Lines for Action” establish as an obligations: “To reinforce and strengthen the principle of inviolability” and mentions as a priority that: “In the future a new territorial design will be supported that will prevent fossil fuel operations within the zone of influence and territory occupied by Tagaeri and Taromenani”

In addition, the recommendations in the Inter-American Commission’s 2013 Human Rights report about “Indigenous People in Voluntary Isolation and Initial Contact on America,” declares in a section on Natural Resources that the state must “abstain from granting licenses or authorizations for activities related to natural resource's extraction, like mining, hydrocarbon activities, deforestation, farming, agroindustrials, and others, in areas with presence or transit of Indigenous People in Voluntary Isolation and initial contact, included buffer zones”

Obviously, the sensible, correct, lawful and Constitutional act would be the definitive closure of 55 Block (Armadillo), the cancellation of all concessions issued in this zone extending the Tagaeri Taromenane Intangible Zone into this block, and whatsmore, aim to define and achieve a territory that protects, forever, the integrity and fundamental human rights of Indigenous peoples living in Voluntary Isolation, preventing an imminent ethnocide.

“One more hole inside Yasuní, one less day for the existence of the Tagaeri and Taromenane”

 

[1] The Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Justice, Human Rights and Religious Affairs, was sent in April 2013 map (http://bit.ly/1LmSnht) where the location PIAV four groups identified, including "Armadillo Group".

[2] "National Policy for the Peoples in Voluntary Isolation"; Government of the Republic of Ecuador. Pp. 6, 7

[3] "Indigenous peoples in Voluntary Isolation and Initial Contact in the Americas" section on Natural Resources "; American Commission on Human Rights. Pp. 81

Sincerely,

Letter

To: President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa; Vice-President of Ecuador, Jorge Glass; Environment Minister Lorena Tapia; Minister of Justice and Minister of Human Rights and Religion, Dr. Ledy Zúñiga

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to express my agreement with the grave concerns expressed in the YASunidos open letter at https://www.salvalaselva.org/peticion/1026/sed-de-petroleo-etnocidio-y-destruccion-en-la-amazonia-ecuatoriana#more with regard to the Ecuadorian Ministry of the Environment’s approval of oil drilling in Block 55 of Yasuní National Park. This area, commonly known as Campo Armadillo, is home to indigenous peoples who live in voluntary isolation.

I urge you to permanently close Block 55 and annul the licenses issued for it. Furthermore, I call on you to expand the inviolable Tagaeri-Taromenane area toward the block in order to consolidate their territory over the long term. This move would protect the integrity and fundamental human rights of the indigenous peoples and prevent an impending ethnocide.

Kind regards,