STATEMENT: Amazon Women Defenders Urge President Lenin Moreno to Respect Human Rights During the Strike and to Listen to the People
Puyo, Pastaza, October 8, 2019 - The Amazon Women Defenders of the Rainforest are concerned about the current situation in Ecuador brought about by the recent economic measures adopted by the government of President Lenin Moreno, and we are bearing witness to threats to human rights, as has happened in some Amazonian communities like Tsukaru and Kunkuk, among others around the country, where armed members of the security forces arbitrarily entered in the middle of the night and launched tear gas canisters, with no concern for the presence of children, women, and old people.
We are aware that the population - tired of inequality and corruption - rejects the government’s measures because they don’t see any benefit for the Ecuadorian people, proving that the country of Ecuador is completely dependent on oil, which continues to create inequality and sustains an obsolete and unsustainable model.
We express our absolute rejection of the repressive and violent actions against indigenous peoples, the arbitrary detentions of leaders, and the participation of government agents who have infiltrated the protesters on many occasions to incite chaos, which is later used by the security forces as justification to repress us and to blame the protesters for violence for which we are not responsible.
As Amazonian women, we also reject that groups associated with the previous government are attempting to take advantage of the indignation of a population that has always been marginalized, taken advantage of, and impoverished - including by them. We would remind these groups that this crisis and the ongoing repression are consequences of the government of President Rafael Correa, who left the country indebted, selling ten years of anticipated oil production without the country now being able to utilize those resources.
It’s been over a year since we Amazonian Women submitted the Amazonian Women’s Mandate to the President of the Republic with key demands - rejecting oil and mining concessions, rejecting violence and persecution of indigenous leaders - to which the government should respond. To date, however, we have received no response, and much to the contrary, we see the openings of new oil blocks, mining concessions, and hydroelectric dams, which are effects of a country in crisis that doesn’t take seriously its responsibility to take care of the environment and to protect collective rights.
We urge President Lenin Moreno to listen to the people, to sit down to revise the package of economic measures with the people, and to not - like his predecessor - make decisions in a dictatorial manner, using the Security Forces to repress indigenous organizations and sectors of civil society, given that such attitudes only favor opportunistic groups.
Finally, we reject the declarations of Defense Minister Osvaldo Jarrín, who on a national media outlet denied the existence of indigenous territories in Ecuador, demonstrating a total lack of knowledge in terms of rights, and violating the constitutional and supra-national rights of indigenous peoples.
We are Women Defenders, we are women of peace who are expressing our sense of this complex context with the goal that we achieve peace, and that the people be the primary priority, doing away with the dictatorial attitudes that have caused so much damage to Ecuador.
Sincerely, Amazonian Women Defenders of the Rainforest
Translation via Amazon Watch