The Kichwa People of Sarayaku show concern regarding the second anniversary of the sentence issued by the Inter-American Court

Two years after the decision, Ecuador is reluctant to comply with the right to consult indigenous peoples and to develop legislation for the exercise of that right.

franco3 Sarayaku, Puyo July 25, 2014- The Kichwa People of Sarayaku and their representatives before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IDH), lawyer Mario Melo and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), on the second anniversary of the Court's Judgment, made public on July 27, 2012, we expressed concern about the pending aspects in terms of compliance with the reparations that were ordered by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR Court).


In its decision, the Inter-American Court determined that the Ecuadorian State had not respected the right to prior, free and informed consultation of the Kichwa people of Sarayaku when, in 1996, it granted a large part of the people's territory to the Argentine oil company CGC. . Nor were the corresponding social and environmental studies carried out. This violated the rights to consultation, property and cultural identity stipulated in the American Convention on Human Rights to the detriment of Sarayaku.

Therefore, the Court ordered important reparations in favor of the Kichwa People of Sarayaku, which included economic reparations; restitution measures, including the extraction of the 1,400 kilos of explosives that the oil company left in the Sarayaku territory; symbolic measures, such as publicizing the ruling and holding a public apology act; and guarantees of non-repetition.


 Among the latter, the Court ordered that the State should consult the People of Sarayaku in a prior, adequate, effective manner and in full accordance with the applicable international standards in the matter, in the eventual case that an extraction activity or project was to be carried out. of natural resources in its territory. Despite the foregoing, the Ecuadorian Hydrocarbons Secretariat made public information according to which it was analyzing an offer from the oil company Andes Petroleum Ecuador Ltd. referring to oil Block 79, whose concession would affect some 6,790 hectares of Sarayaku territory. If the adjudication materializes, the State would have repeated the human rights violation for which it was condemned by the Inter-American Court, since it has not carried out any consultation process with Sarayaku in this regard.

 In addition, the Court ordered Ecuador "to adopt the legislative, administrative or other measures that are necessary to fully implement and make effective, within a reasonable time, the right to prior consultation of indigenous and tribal peoples and communities and modify those that prevent its full and free exercise, for which it must ensure the participation of the communities themselves.”

 In this sense, the Court elaborated in a very detailed manner the international standards that must be respected when the States carry out consultations with indigenous peoples and communities regarding development projects.

Although Ecuador has made progress with the payment of economic reparations to Sarayaku, and the carrying out of some symbolic measures of reparation, the position of the State is that it does not need to develop legislation related to the right to consultation. To maintain this position, Ecuador relies on the existence of the "Regulation for the Execution of Free and Informed Prior Consultation in Bidding and Allocation Processes for Hydrocarbon Blocks", approved by Executive Decree 1247 of July 19, 2012. According to the government, the Decree complies with the reparation ordered by the Court.

 However, as Viviana Krsticevic, Executive Director of CEJIL, points out, "Executive Decree 1247 does not meet the standards established by the Court in the ruling, in addition to being prior to its issuance, and not having been adopted with the participation of the indigenous communities”.

 In the same sense, Mario Melo points out, arguing that "since the right to consultation is included in the Ecuadorian Constitution, and affects fundamental rights, it should be regulated by Organic Law and not by means of a Decree."

 Additionally, the application of the Decree has generated strong criticism from the Ecuadorian indigenous movement, as well as social conflicts with the communities to which it has been applied.

 In this regard, the Committee on Economic and Social Rights of the United Nations recommended to Ecuador on November 30, 2012, that it consider suspending the application of Decree 1247 and design legislative measures together with the indigenous peoples, to regulate the right to consultation of according to what was ordered by the Inter-American Court in the Sarayaku case.

 Based on the foregoing, Sarayaku and its representatives urge the Ecuadorian State to take measures to process a law regarding the right to consultation together with the indigenous peoples of Ecuador, in accordance with the standards developed by the Inter-American Court in the Judgment of the case. For Sarayaku, this is the most important reparation, since it would prevent the repetition of the violations committed not only against them but also against their sister peoples in Ecuador, and would constitute an important precedent for all the indigenous peoples of the Americas.

 More information about the case:

  • Inter-American Court. Sarayaku case vs. Ecuador. Judgment on Merits and Reparations of June 27, 2012,
  • Final Observations of the Committee on the Third Report of Ecuador, approved by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in its forty-ninth period of sessions”, November 30, 2012.

Contact in Washington D.C.

 Viviana Krsticevic

Executive Director CEJIL

Phone (1)202 319 3000

Contacts in Ecuador

Félix Santi, President of the Kichwa People of Sarayaku

Mario Melo, Sarayaku Lawyer



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