Ecuador: NPWJ welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision recognising Indigenous right to consent over oil and mining projects

5 February 2022

On the 4th of February 2022, the Supreme Constitutional Court of Ecuador issued a historic ruling underlining that the government needs the consent of the indigenous communities before proceeding with any oil, mining or other extractive activities that might affect their lands. 
 
The ruling guarantees the right of indigenous peoples to decide over their territory, thus protecting many hectares of jungle, forests, and other ecosystems that are fundamental for our planet’s wellbeing and climate balance. 
 
This decision is unprecedented, and it enhances the role of free, prior and informed consent. Indeed, according to Article 19 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UDHR), States are required to consult and cooperate with the indigenous peoples “in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them”. 
 
We strongly welcome Ecuador’s high court’s decision and and hope it will start a positive change for the environment and those who defend it in Ecuador. We also look forward other countries of the Amazonian region to act in the same way.
 
Background
Through its campaign against deforestation in the Amazon, launched in 2019 with the support of the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation and local partners, NPWJ is at the forefront in the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples and against the impunity for ecocide and environmental damage in the region. One of the main objectives of the campaign is to raise awareness about the effects of climate crimes such as land grabbing, deforestation or water pollution as well as to promote accountability’s venues for holding those responsible for crimes against nature and its defenders accountable. This should be a priority on the agenda of all those who recognize the importance of this forest for the ecological balance of the planet and for the preservation of native peoples, flora and fauna, heritage of humanity.
 
For further information, please contact Juan Guzman, Amazonia Project Associate (juzman@npwj.org) or Nicola Giovannini, Press & Public Affairs Coordinator on ngiovannini@npwj.org.