Video / Audio - COVID-19 and Indigenous Peoples
The Kichwa tribe in the Sarayaku region of the Amazon in Ecuador believe in the ‘living forest’, where humans, animals and plants live in harmony. They are fighting oil companies who want to exploit their ancestral land. A delegation of indigenous people are at the Paris COP21 climate conference to make sure their voices are heard. Can they win their battle? (The Guardian, 2015).
Who are indigenous peoples, what do they have to offer this world of ours? How are they being affected by the ever accelerating development of the world we live in? What are the safeguards that are being put in place that will help protect them and why should we need these safeguards to ensure that indigenous peoples are in control of their own destiny? Some of the answers to these questions can be found in this animation (Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, 2014).
To national, local, and international leaders: The Amazon rainforest is critically important to the survival of our planet and the indigenous peoples that call it home. The International Energy Agency is unequivocal: two-thirds of fossil fuels need to be kept in the ground to avoid climate disaster. Given the science mandate to keep oil in the ground and the demands of our indigenous allies, the Amazon Basin is the perfect place to start. Leave the oil in the ground! (Amazon Watch, 2014)
Sarayaku is an indigenous community located in the province of Pastaza, in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Sarayaku ("River of Maize") is inhabited by 1,200 people from the Kichwa nationality. They operate a system of direct democracy. In 2002 the company CGC Argentina (Compañía General de Combustibles), accompanied by the Ecuadorian army illegally entered the territory of Sarayaku and buried 1500 Kg of pentolite, explosives used in seismic exploration for oil. The case was brought before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, creating a historical precedent in the defense of indigenous rights. The Constitution and the ILO Convention 169 determined to have prior, free and informed consent of indigenous peoples before starting exploitation. The people from Sarayaku won the case. But as this video will show, the threats to their community are far from over. (Arturo Hortas / Government of Aragon /EJOLT, 2012)