FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Emily Arasim, Communications Coordinator Women's Earth and Climate Action Network
Kevin Koenig Amazon Watch
Belen Paez Pachamama Alliance
Indigenous Women of the Ecuadorian Amazon and Global Allies to Reject New Oil Contracts on International Women’s Day
QUITO, Ecuador March 4, 2016 – On International Women’s Day, March 8, 2016, a collective of Indigenous women leaders of the Ecuadorian Amazon and their global allies will march together and participate in forums and press conferences in Puyo, Ecuador to reject newly signed oil contracts in the territories of the Sarayaku and Sapara people.
The women are gathering to stand for the rights of Indigenous communities and women land defenders and in the protection and defense of the Amazon rainforest.
The new oil contract, signed between the Ecuadorian government and Chinese oil corporation Andes Petroleum, opens up almost a million acres of pristine Amazonian Rainforest and threatens irreversible devastation of the forest’s magnificent ecological, social and cultural diversity, including the dislocation of the Sapara people, whose language and culture has been officially recognized by UNESCO as an "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity".
In light of the central role of the Amazon Rainforest in absorbing climate change inducing greenhouse gases, and in creating and maintaining the cyclesof air and water upon which all life depends, this latest oil contract must be seen not only as an absolutely unacceptableviolation of local ecosystems and community rights, but as a betrayal of immense global significance.
“We reject this oil policy of the government and the possibility of further oil concessions in the southern Amazon,” a coalition of Amazonian women leaders declared in a recent statement, “We denounce that deceptive mechanisms have been used to obtain signatures of community members in order to justify supposed prior consultation processes. We stand firm in the defense of our territories, for the defense of life and the good living of our families and communities.”
Women leaders of the Sapara and Shiwiar Nationalities, and the Kichwa Kawsak Sacha and Sarayaku Peoples, including Patricia Gualinga and Ena Santi (Kichwa of Sarayaku) and Gloria Ushigua (Sapara) will unite in Puyo on March 8 for a day of events and actions denouncing the contractandexposingits implications for Indigenous rights, Earth rights, global climate change and the lives and livelihoods of local women and communities.
They will be accompanied in solidarity by delegations of international partners including the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network, Amazon Watch and Terra Mater, working to bring international attention to the grave intertwined threats of social and ecologic devastation facing the Amazon and it’s Indigenous communities as a result of oil concessions, while highlighting the powerful visions and solutions of local women leaders.
Following the series of March 8 International Women’s Day actions in Puyo, select international delegation members and local leaders will return to Quito, the capital of Ecuador, to present an afternoon event and report back session, ‘Women of Ecuadorian Amazon and International Allies Stand For Protection of the Amazon Rainforest’ to be held on March 9 at 17:00 at the Biblioteca FLASCO, Universidad FLACSO, Quito.
“On this International Women’sDay we are reaching across borders and standing together as global women for climate justice to denounce oil extraction in the Amazon and call for attention to the struggles and solutions of local women land defenders,”explained Osprey Orielle Lake, Executive Director of the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network,“We all depend on the flourishing of these precious rainforests, the lungs of the planet. Now is the time to keep the oil in the ground and stand with the women who have been putting their bodies on the line for years to protect the forest, their cultures, and the health and well being of all future generations.”
Concerned allies around the world are signing a critical petition and statements directly from the Indigenous women of the Ecuadorian Amazon, making it known that the eyes of the international community are on Ecuador and Andes Petroleum to cancel this latest contract and move immediately to keep oil in the ground in the Amazon.
The Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International
www.wecaninternational.org - @WECAN_INTL
The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International is a 501(c)3 and solutions-based organization established to engage women worldwide in policy advocacy, on-the-ground projects, direct action, trainings, and movement building for global climate justice.