The Sarayaku case

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)

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