One indigenous tribe known as Waorani, which lives in the so-called Ecuadorian Amazon area, won the lawsuit which protected and prevented mining about half a million acres of forest land for the process of oil drilling.One panel in the so-called Provincial Court, comprised of only three judges, who have indefinitely suspended Waorani lands’ auctioning to the oil companies right after the natives argued that their government couldn’t sell the lands without the consent of these people.
The leader of Waorani, named Nemonte Nenquimo, said that this verdict definitely made her feel safer, together with her tribe.
She said that the court has recognized that their government violated their rights to live safe and free and make their decisions about their self-determination and territory.
She added:“Our territory is our decision, and now, since we are owners, we are not going to let oil enter and destroy out nature surroundings and kill our culture.”
The Waorani protested (Rodrigo Buendia/AFP)
The decision of the court also sets legal precedents which could permit other indigenous people and nations around Amazon to actually take their governments to court, so that they will protect their homes too.
As it was reported, the court stopped this potential auctioning, which was of about sixteen oil blocks which cover 7 million acres indigenous property.
Leonardo DiCaprio, who is an actor, and also an environmental activist, is actually one of those many activists that campaigned for these indigenous people.
He even posted a tweet, saying:“The Waorani people are one day away from saving half-a-million acres of forest from oil drilling. Watch the video and send a message to Ecuador’s government: protect indigenous rights & the Amazon.”
This February, the Waorani, together with Ombudsman of Ecuador, who actually serve as the public advocates and appointed officials of the parliament, sued their government for inadequately consulting them before the opening of the territory for the potential exploration of oil.
Last year, the government also removed the land of Waorani from the international auction; however, it warned that it could become the subject to oil drilling in the near future.
Somewhere during 2012, some representatives from the Ministry of Energy and Non-Renewable Resources have visited this village in order to speak with the family of Nenquimo, who weren’t in during that time.
She said that they don’t discuss some serious effects caused by the process of drilling on forests, rivers, and land, and rather than that, they treated it like box-ticking exercises.
Moreover, the tribe said that this agreement has been based on some fraudulent practices. A representative for Pastaza’s Waorani, named Oswando Nenquimo said that they succeeded in protecting their forests and land from the oil drilling processes. They have also protected their water from pollution and contamination, and their children from diseases and sicknesses.
He added the following:“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.”
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