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Published By Todd Lucier on December 10th, 2013 in Edge Insider
A few years ago Martha and Todd Lucier, co-founders of Northern Edge Algonquin journeyed to Ecuador, and the Amazon Rainforest. There we met many indigenous Amazon dwelling people who steward the rainforest for their communities. A striking memory I have is a photo we took with the chief of a Achuar community we visited who insisted on sitting with his rifle across his lap. The photo is an iconic image of a protector of the forest.
Earlier, when introduced we were all asked whether we worked for oil companies. It was a very serious and tense moment. These people and their way of life have been in very serious jeopardy due to oil exploration in their Amazon territory. The Ecuadorian government is under significant pressure from oil companies to permit oil exploration and development in these virgin rainforests. Now the government has shut down the office of the only political organization of these indigenous people . . The Achuar due to their opposition to Rainforest development in the Amazon..
On behalf of the Pachamama Alliance I am writing to appeal for your support.
On Wednesday, December 4th, plain-clothes police officers in Quito, Ecuador, appeared at the offices of Fundación Pachamama, and proceeded to shut down their facilities and dissolve the organization. We stand in solidarity with Fundación Pachamama and other NGOs in Ecuador which might be under threat.
You are invited to sign this online petition and pass it along a link to this page inviting your friends to sign.
If you are associated with an organization that would express its solidarity, please also look at the message below and defend the right of people to protest peacefully!
Below is a letter that organizations and institutions can sign on to, calling for the reopening of Fundación Pachamama. Please sign on as soon as possible, and it will be published once we have a critical mass of signatures. You can sign via this Google Form: http://tinyurl.com/m89t835 Or send a message to our ally contact, [email protected] with the following information:
Organization name, Organization country, Contact name, Contact e-mail address.
We Stand in Solidarity with Fundación Pachamama in Ecuador
The below listed organizations, both Ecuadorian and international, would like to make the following statement to the broader public, our political representatives, and the media:
On the morning of December 4th, 2013, the Quito-based headquarters of the internationally recognized organization Fundación Pachamama were raided and closed down by police agents, who presented a resolution of the Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment dissolving the organization.
We agree with Fundación Pachamama’s position that this dissolution is an arbitrary act, looking to repress the organization’s legitimate right to dissent against the national government’s decision to hand over the territories of Amazonian indigenous peoples via concessions to oil companies, without respecting those peoples’ constitutional rights, in particular their right to free, prior, and informed consent, in agreement with international human rights law.
Fundación Pachamama’s position has always been based in the defense of human rights and the rights of nature, all of this carried out in actions within the rule of law. For the last sixteen years they have offered solidarity and assistance to the indigenous organizations that legitimately represent the ancestral peoples of the Amazon.
As a matter of principle and institutional nature, Fundación Pachamama rejects any violent actions coming from any sector. In our experience, the Foundation has never supported or much less participated in violent actions. Such violence cannot be imputed upon them for acts they did not commit.
Given their work in defense of rights, they have been publicly and viciously attacked by those who hold political power in Ecuador, accusations that have been broadly disseminated through state-run media. We view this as violent, in addition to hastily dissolving an organization, without any legal justification, without a due process that would guarantee legitimate defense.
Responding to this aggression, we express our support for Fundación Pachamama while they:
1. Don’t renounce their right to defend rights; and
2. Challenge the government’s decision through all the legal means at their disposal.
We will continue supporting Fundación Pachamama while they guarantee that this aggression, to which they are victims, doesn’t distract attention and debate from the core issue which is the violation of Amazonian indigenous peoples’ collective rights and the rights of nature, by means of an oil tender carried out against the will of the legitimate property holders of the affected territories, through a ‘socialization process’, not a real consultation.
It’s time to reinstate Fundación Pachamama and end the repression against civil society and indigenous peoples in Ecuador.