The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) has ruled in favour of the Sarayaku indigenous people of the Ecuadorian Amazon in the case of Sarayaku v. Ecuador. The ruling, made public on July 25, ends a decade-long legal battle waged by the Sarayaku after a foreign oil company was allowed to encroach on their traditional lands in the early 2000s without their consultation.
The IACHR found that the Ecuadorian state violated the community’s right to be consulted, as well as their community property rights and their cultural identity. The Court also found Ecuador responsible for putting the life and physical integrity of the Sarayaku at grave risk, after the oil company placed more than 1,400 kg of high-grade explosives on the indigenous people’s territory.
Amnesty International is urging other states in the region to take immediate and decisive action to remedy the situation of hundreds of other indigenous peoples who face problems similar to those of the Sarayaku.
The Sarayaku and Amnesty International have co-produced the upcoming documentary “Los descendientes del Jaguar” (Children of the Jaguar) about the community’s fight to defend their rights.