In defence of the rights of indigenous and peasant communities against Chevron: Open letter to the President of Ecuador

17 December 2020 by CADTM International , Collective

In solidarity with tens of thousands of people affected by the biggest environmental disaster that has hit the Ecuadorian Amazon, more than 240 organizations, networks, movements, and unions –representing more than 285 million people internationally – are asking the government of Ecuador to appeal the arbitration award issued by the Dutch justice system in favor of the oil transnational Chevron.

The award issued on August 30, 2018 orders the Ecuadorian State to: annul the ruling in the Lago Agrio case, despite the fact that it has been ratified by all Ecuadorian judicial instances, including the Constitutional Court; and prevent the affected communities from going to other countries to seek implementation of the ruling and reparations for the damages caused by Chevron-Texaco. Furthermore, it demands Ecuador compensate the oil company for having “affected its image” and for the judicial costs associated with 27 years of legal proceedings.

If the government of Ecuador does not appeal this ruling, it will be enforced, despite the fact that it violates Ecuador’s own Constitution and should be inapplicable. And if the Dutch justice system persists in validating the ruling, it will be complicit in an international private arbitration system that systematically favors transnational corporations, denying justice to those affected by corporate crimes.

This case has generated great concern at the international level. If Ecuador does not appeal, it will set a precedent that will allow transnational corporations to violate human rights and the collective rights of Indigenous Peoples, and destroy the environment, with impunity.

The CADTM and the “Global Campaign to Reclaim Peoples Sovereignty, Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity” joins the call of more than 240 social, indigenous, peasant organizations, networks and unions from different countries, representing more than 285 million people, for Ecuador to appeal the judgment in the Dutch justice system before December 16, 2020. The Ecuadorian government must keep the door open to justice for the indigenous and peasant communities of the Amazon, after decades of struggle for the common good.

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