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An Amazon tribe has won a huge lawsuit against Big Oil, saving vast acres of precious rainforest by doing so.
The Ecuadorian government’s intentions of drilling for oil throughout seven million acres of south central Ecuadorian Amazon have thankfully been thwarted, with the Waorani people of Pastaza winning a historic ruling.
The Waorani people have managed to protect half a million acres of their Amazon rainforest territory from being drilled. They have also managed to disrupt the contemplated auctioning of 16 oil blocks covering more than seven million acres of rainforest.
The consultation process with the Waorani undertaken by the government in 2012 has been declared void, suspending indefinitely the auctioning of their territory to big oil.
Executive Director of Amazon Frontlines, Mitch Anderson, stated:
This is a major precedent for indigenous rights across the Amazon. Today, the court has recognized a pattern of deceit, bad-faith and manipulative tactics in the Ecuadorian Government’s attempt to earmark the Waorani people’s lands for oil extraction.
This is a huge step forward in the battle to ensure indigenous people’s rights over their lands are respected. Guaranteeing indigenous peoples’ rights to decide over their future and to say ‘No’ to destructive extractive projects is key to protecting the Amazon rainforest and halting climate change.
This ruling, decided by the three-judge panel of the Pastaza Provincial Court, sets a key legal precedent for indigenous rights as well as for rainforest protection.
Spokesperson for the Waorani of Pastaza, Oswando Nenquimo, made the following statement:
Today we have protected our forest from oil drilling; we have protected our water from contamination; we have protected our children from sickness. This is a legal precedent for indigenous rights,
But the fight is far from over. The government will appeal because they still want the oil beneath our land. Indigenous Nations across the Amazon and the world must band together to protect our homes.
Speaking with The New Yorker, Waorani leader Nemonte Nenquimo said:
The court recognized that the government violated our right to live free, and make our own decisions about our territory and self determination,
Our territory is our decision, and now, since we are owners, we are not going to let oil enter and destroy our natural surroundings and kill our culture.
How wonderful it is to hear some positive news for once about the fate of the Amazon rainforest.
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