José Gualinga, Tayak apu from Sarayaku (left), Patricia Gualinga, Leader of Sarayaku Women and Family, Marlon Santi, recognized leader of the indigenous movement, Sarayaku runa.

Newsletter The Drums Will Rumble

Under the international standards dictated by the sentence granted by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, known on July 25, 2012, the text of the document issued by the international organization declares the absolute responsibility of the Ecuadorian State for the violation of property rights community, prior consultation, right to life, to judicial protection, among others, of the Original Kichwa People of Sarayaku.

Referring to this, the whole world remembers the emblematic Case Suriname Vs. Saramaka, in which the Inter-American Court demands that the State not only consult the people but also its actual application result: prior, free and informed consent in accordance with its customs and traditions. In the case of implementing large-scale projects “from the first stages of the preparation or planning of the proposed measure” that may cause irreversible damage, the five international standards for the Sarayaku case determine that the consultation: must be informed in advance, be in good faith, adequate and accessible, have environmental impact studies and in order to reach an agreement and prior, free and informed consent.

The forms of "socialization" or search for "understanding" that the Ecuadorian State pointed out, according to the Inter-American Court, do not meet the minimum criteria and essential requirements of a valid consultation process with indigenous communities and peoples. In other words, the judgment is emphatic in affirming that the State had the obligation to guarantee the right to consultation, communal property and cultural identity.

This sentence is the result of almost a decade of international litigation and marks a historical precedent in the life of peoples and nationalities at a global level, constantly threatened by extractivist policies in the name of the so-called "first world" development and that has nothing to do with with the worldview of the peoples, self-proclaimed defenders of the jungle. In contrast to this, the Court considered it pertinent to highlight the deep cultural, immaterial and spiritual bond that the Sarayaku People maintain with their territory, in particular, the specific characteristics of their "living forest" (Kawsak Sacha) and the intimate relationship between it and its members, which is not limited to ensuring their subsistence, but rather integrates their own worldview and cultural and spiritual identity”.

Jose Gualinga
Sarayaku President

Contact: Jose Gualinga 083292734



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