Ecuador’s largest indigenous organization has launched an unprecedented legal attack against the government, accusing it of ‘ethnocide’ against uncontacted tribes.
CONAIE, The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, announced it will target President Rafael Correa, the ministries of environment, mining and oil, and Ecuador’s ambassador to Spain, amongst others.
The government stands accused of endangering the lives of uncontacted Indians by allowing oil companies to operate on their lands.
The tribes face extinction if they are contacted by oil company workers as they lack immunity to common diseases brought by outsiders.
The case was brought before the Attorney General’s office last week.
In a statement, CONAIE said, ‘(Uncontacted tribes) depend entirely on their natural environments… Any significant impact on their land creates cumulative problems that end in their physical and cultural decline, which we consider to be ethnocide.’
Two groups highlighted in the appeal are the Tagaeri and Taromenane Indians who live in the southern Ecuadorian Amazon – both are members of the Waorani tribe.
Both companies have failed to acknowledge the danger their work poses to the survival of these vulnerable groups.