The Minister of Mines and Oil, Galo Chiriboga, in a visit to Sarayaku, promised that the government will comply with the precautionary measures issued by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. In particular, it signed an agreement with the Sarayaku community for the formation of a joint team to direct the removal of explosives left in the Sarayaku territory by the CGC oil company.

"The Ecuadorian State will respond positively to the international community, accepting the removal of the pentolite as a precautionary measure," the minister told the national press and hundreds of Sarayaku members who had gathered at the communal house.

On the other hand, Sarayaku requested that the national government declare the expiration of the oil exploration contract with the CGC company, based on various legal arguments, among which the following stand out:

  • The CGC has violated human rights
  • The CGC has violated an express contractual provision that required them to obtain permission from the community before entering its territory.
  • The contractual term already ended on August 26, 2001 and the extensions that have been granted to the CGC are obviously illegal.

 

To this request, the minister responded that he cannot advance criteria before duly studying the document and following the pertinent legal procedures.
These latest events constitute an important step towards the protection of the Sarayaku territory, but there is still a long way to go before there is definitive protection. We ask international opinion to remain vigilant.

Minister of Mines and Oil visits Sarayaku and promises withdrawal of the explosives left behind by the oil company CGC (September 4, 2007)
The Minister of Mines and Oil, Galo Chiriboga, in a visit to Sarayaku, promised that the government will comply with the precautionary measures dictated by the Interamerican Court of Human Rights. In particular, I have signed an agreement with the Sarayaku community regarding the conformation of a joint team in order to direct the withdrawal of the explosives left behind in the Sarayaku territory by the oil company CGC.
“The Ecuadorian state will respond positively to the international community, accepting as precautionary measures the witdrawal of the pentolite”, affirmed the minister to the national press and to hundreds of community members who had gathered in the community hall.
For another part, Sarayaku proposed that the National Government would declare the contract of CGC for oil exploration expired. This proposal is based on various legal arguments, among which are the following:

  • CGC has violated human rights
  • CGC has violated an explicit contractual obligation which obliged it to obtain permission by the community before entering its territory
  • The contract expired on August 26, 2001, and the prolongations granted to CGC after that have evidently been illegal.

 

To this proposal, the Minister responded that he cannot respond in advance, before studying the documentation and following the corresponding legal process.

These developments constitute an important step towards the protection of the Sarayaku territory. However, there is still a long way to go in order to achieve a definitive protection. We ask the international community to stay alert.

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