The Original Kichwa People of Sarayaku to national and international public opinion:

The case that the People of Sarayaku has been promoting before the Inter-American Human Rights System against the Ecuadorian State since 2003, has reached a defining moment.

This case deals with the denunciation of the serious human rights violations committed against Sarayaku in relation to the decision of the Ecuadorian State to allow the oil operation of the so-called Block 23 in our territory; the impacts that said decision had on our subsistence, life and worldview, and the acts of violence caused during the arbitrary entry of Ecuadorian oil workers and soldiers into Sarayaku territory in 2002 and 2003. It will set important precedents regarding the right to consultation and free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples in the face of state decisions that seriously affect their territory and self-determination.

In July 2011, the public hearing of the case was held before the Inter-American Court at its headquarters in San José, Costa Rica, during which statements were heard from the victims, witnesses, and experts, and the positions and arguments of the the parts. Within the term established by the Court, the parties presented their final written arguments. In other words, the procedural steps prior to sentencing have been completed.

However, the Inter-American Court, in the exercise of its powers, has decided that, prior to passing judgment, it will make a visit on-site to the territory of the Kichwa People of Sarayaku, on April 21, 2012, in order to obtain additional information about the situation of the victims and the places where some of the reported events occurred.

The People of Sarayaku, of course, welcome to their territory the delegation of the Inter-American Court, that of the Inter-American Commission, which will also participate in the visit, and the delegation of the Ecuadorian State. Together with their representatives, Dr. Mario Melo Cevallos and the CEJIL Center for Justice and International Law, Sarayaku will actively participate in the proceeding.

We consider that the visit of the Inter-American Court to the territory of an Indigenous People in resistance against the entry of oil activity in their territory, is an invaluable opportunity to make visible to national and international public opinion, which is following the case with interest, the disastrous effects caused by the imposition of state decisions without consultation on indigenous peoples, in violation of international law standards that protect them as well as to emphasize the validity and enforceability of the right to consultation and free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples . This in a context in which a new large oil tender has been announced in Ecuador that once again threatens the territory of the Sarayaku and that of other indigenous peoples and nationalities of the Center-South of the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Sarayaku calls on Ecuadorian citizens, indigenous, social, environmental and human rights organizations around the world, the media and all people committed to indigenous rights and Mother Earth, to follow from our website The development of this important diligence and the sentence issued by the Inter-American Court in the Sarayaku case.

Sarayaku, February 22, 2012


Jose Gualinga


(President of the Original Kichwa People of Sarayaku)




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