This is an outrage! In defiance of law, human rights, and the rights of nature, the Ecuadorian government under President Rafael Correa sent officials from the Police Administration to abruptly shut down Fundacion Pachamama in Quito without legal cause or due process.
On this day when we remember the life of Nelson Mandela, it is especially ironic that a Latin American country is joining forces with the corporatocracy to obliterate the rights of indigenous people and wreak more havoc on one of the world’s most fragile and important eco-systems.
Fundacion Pachamama is a nonprofit outgrowth of and is supported by the Pachamama Alliance, an organization that I co-founded (along with Bill and Lynne Twiste) in 1995 to fight for the rights of nature and the indigenous peoples of the Amazon. The important work of these organizations has been threatened, laying the groundwork for the government to attack other foundations and organizations in the same lawless manner. What has been done is blatantly illegal and must be addressed strongly and immediately.
The international oil companies and the corporatocracy have pressured the Ecuadorian government to violently exploit the rights of the people of the Amazon specifically and by extension, the human rights of all. Recently, the Ecuadorian government has attempted to allow investors and oil executives from around the world to bid for the right to oil development in areas of the Amazon basin that belong to the indigenous people. Fundacion Pachamama has supported the indigenous people in their struggles to protect their homes, cultures, and lands. That support has prompted the government to take this outrageous action against them.
The Interior Ministry accused this organization of “affecting the public peace” because of their peaceful protests against the bidding, which is called XI Oil Round. “We are peaceful,” said Joke Baert, a Fundacion Pachamama spokeswoman. “We defend human rights and we have never promoted or supported violence. The government should carry out a deep investigation.”
The international NGO community is leaping to Fundacion Pachamama’s defense, with organizations such as Amazon Watch showing solidarity by spreading awareness and reaching out to the media as well as to legal channels to restore justice and allow the movement to continue unfettered in favor of the rights of nature.
Amazon Watch stated in an email to its members: “We cannot allow for this aggression to distract attention and debate from the larger issues, such as the violation of the collective rights of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon, the Human Rights of all, and the Rights of Nature.”
Fundacion Pachamama released a statement regarding this violation of their rights, saying, “This closure is an arbitrary act that seeks to suppress our legitimate right to dissent from the decision of the National Government to concede areas of Amazonian indigenous nations to oil companies, without respecting their constitutional rights and to free, prior and informed consultation, according to the standards of the International Law of Human Rights.”
We need you to stand with us in this fight for justice. Please “like” Fundacion Pachamama on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pachamama.org.ec) and follow us on Twitter (@FPachamama_Ec), for more updates in the coming hours and days. Get involved in the global conversation on Twitter, using the hashtag #SolidaridadPachamama to show support. You can also call the Ecuadorian Embassy or Consulate closest to you, letting them know Fundacion Pachamama should be reopened. (http://www.ecuadorexplorer.com/html/consulates_abroad.htm)