On the Struggle of the Indigenous Peoples of Ecuador Against Extractivism in the Aguarico River
Protect Indigenous Peoples Lives and Territories!
A Statement of Support to the Struggle of the Indigenous Peoples of Ecuador
Against Extractivism in the Aguarico River
The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) condones the destructive and invasive gold mining and extraction operations in the Aguarico River and the Cayambe-Coca National Park in Ecuador that trample the rights of the Kofan people of Sinangoe over their ancestral lands and territories.
The Kofan Community of Sinangoe, along with several Indigenous Peoples (IP) communities and local organizations, expressed their strong condemnation of the Ecuadorian Government’s awarding of mining concessions within their ancestral territories in a public denunciation released on May 2, 2018 following the Sinangoe Indigenous Guards’ discovery of heavily equipped mining operations in the Aguarico River.
These extractive invasions are illegally operating without any prior consultation with Sinangoe and without a proper environmental license to which Mario Criollo, President of the Cofán de Sinangoe community, referred to as “a direct violation of the Ecuadorian Constitution and international treaties”. The pollution of the river and plunder of forest lands puts the Kofan people’s health, homes, livelihood, and culture at risk. These mining activities are prelude to the Amazon gold rush, which will bring about bigger environmental catastrophes with potentially devastating effects on the lands, waters, forests, and the fragile ecosystem of the region.
The Aguarico River, which extends across some parts of the Amazon rainforest, is the source of life not only of the Kofan people, but of all the Indigenous nationalities living along the Aguarico. Last April 16, the Sinangoe Community joined other mining-impacted communities in a national protest that called upon the government to cancel all new mining concessions and stop all operations in the headwaters of the Aguarico River.
Despite Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno’s bold pronouncements that not one mining concession will be awarded, the current administration – particularly the Environment Ministry, the Mining Ministry, the National Prosecutor, the Ombudsman Office, and the local governments remain tightlipped and hands-off on the issue.
We call on the international community, IP organizations and advocates to stand with the Kofan and the IP communities of Ecuador and continue to assert our right to our lands, territories, and ways of life! We stand steadfast against extractivism and a system that puts a higher value on profits than indigenous lives and lands.
STOP THE MINING AND GOLD EXTRACTIONS IN AGUARICO RIVER!
FIGHT FOR THE KOFAN PEOPLES RIGHT TO ANCESTRAL TERRITORIES!
SIGN THE PLEDGE: https://www.amazonfrontlines.org/stand-sinangoe/
Reference: Beverly Longid, Global Coordinator | firstname.lastname@example.org