Ecuador National Strike 2022

Protect Indigenous Peoples’
Right to Protest

Since the beginning of the national mobilization, the response of the state has been to stigmatize, repress, and criminalize the protests taking place across the country. As a result, there have been multiple acts of persecution, criminalization, and abusive and disproportionate use of force against dozens of leaders and protestors, as well as the denial of freedoms by state security agents.

In addition, there have multiple documented instances of human rights violations, the denial of civil liberties, acts of violent persecution, and the disproportionate use of force against dozens of Indigenous leaders and protestors.

The undersigned individuals and civil society organizations urgently ask the Ecuadorian State, particularly the judicial institutions, to guarantee access to due process and to ensure criminal law will not be abused to persecute and to deter the work of the Indigenous movement who have been criminalized for exercising their legitimate right to protest.

Likewise, we ask President Guillermo Lasso and Law Enforcement to respect the mobilization of the Indigenous Movement and to begin a meaningful dialogue addressing their outlined concerns. 

We demand judicial independence for the Indigenous leaders and human rights defenders carrying out their vital roles while exercising their Constitutionally guaranteed right to assemble.

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WHAT CAUSED THE ECUADOR NATIONAL STRIKE?

On Monday 13th June 2022, the Indigenous movement in Ecuador started an indefinite national strike to show their discontent against President Lasso’s government’s neoliberal and extractivist policies and to demand that their rights be respected.

Since day one of the strike, the government has repressed the right to social protest and criminalized Indigenous leaders, including the illegal detention of Leonidas Iza, the current president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE).

Iza was illegally detained, without proper warrant, or due process. He was held at an undisclosed location for 20 hours and forced to sign documents without explanation – actions by the state that directly violate key human rights.

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The Ecuadorian government’s aggressive criminalization of the Indigenous movement, its use of violent repressive tactics on Indigenous leaders, the participants of the strike, and the population victimized by its condemnable policies, is a matter of extreme concern.

Although Iza has since been conditionally released, violent arrests continue to surge across the country. CONAIE demands the constitutionally guaranteed right to protest be respected and states the national strike will continue until the demands of the people are met.

Indigenous peoples across Ecuador are requesting access to labor rights, a cap on surging fuel prices, an end to extraction projects across ancestral lands, and that their Constitutionally-granted right to protest be respected! 

WE CONDEMN LASSO'S VIOLENCE ANGAINST PROTESTORS AND ASK FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

KEEP UPDATED ABOUT THE ECUADOR NATIONAL STRIKE LATEST NEWS!

AFrontlines @AFrontlines Fri Aug 12 17:52:23 +0000 2022

TODAY: "Industria de Fuego" by @NSiekopai filmmaker Jimmy Piaguaje is being showcased in @cineindigena Indigenous f… https://t.co/vO6du3T7GC

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AFrontlines @AFrontlines Fri Aug 12 14:04:30 +0000 2022

Devastating read from @nytimes: @UNDP partners with Big Oil polluters, putting the Indigenous Siona of Buenavista… https://t.co/2DkPn0ry7Y

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AFrontlines @AFrontlines Thu Aug 11 00:52:19 +0000 2022

Rights Defender & @AFrontlines Lawyer @lmespinosav, who litigated emblematic #IndigenousRights cases of… https://t.co/fMbluTefGV

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AFrontlines @AFrontlines Thu Aug 11 00:24:18 +0000 2022

The Ecuadorian state has consistently failed to protect the lives of human rights defenders. President… https://t.co/I2xMLnKOCx

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AFrontlines @AFrontlines Thu Aug 11 00:16:29 +0000 2022

Rights defenders are under attack in #Ecuador! A 2021 report by @DDHH_Alianza reveals government & industry compl… https://t.co/E2Ypk1TqLr

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AFrontlines @AFrontlines Thu Aug 11 00:10:07 +0000 2022

🚨#DefendersUnderThreat | We condemn the grave threats against Human Rights Defender & @AFrontlines Lawyer… https://t.co/oLvm8RFavN

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AFrontlines @AFrontlines Wed Aug 10 21:34:28 +0000 2022

. @AmnistiaOnline condemns death threats against @AFrontlines lawyer @lmespinosav, and demands @LassoGuillermo… https://t.co/3T6TTGdlG8

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AFrontlines @AFrontlines Wed Aug 10 20:27:17 +0000 2022

Tonight at 7 PM EC – Join @AFrontlines_ES for a tuitazo to denounce the threats against @lmespinosav and to demand… https://t.co/KSKCW8Fbdd

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AFrontlines @AFrontlines Wed Aug 10 17:50:57 +0000 2022

We call on @LassoGuillermo @DEFENSORIAEC to guarantee the safety of rights defenders in #Ecuador & to investigate d… https://t.co/XQ8UIlovbT

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AFrontlines @AFrontlines Tue Aug 09 18:47:21 +0000 2022

Today, on the #InternationalDayOfIndigenousPeoples, we celebrate Indigenous women's power as caretakers of the land… https://t.co/Jvb41T3rZD

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AFrontlines @AFrontlines Mon Aug 08 21:27:23 +0000 2022

Thank you @goldmanprize for uplifting & amplifying the work of 2022 #GoldmanPrize winners from Ecuador,… https://t.co/btjTdM6NSj

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AFrontlines @AFrontlines Fri Aug 05 18:10:37 +0000 2022

RT @AmnistiaOnline: #Ecuador: @lmespinosav, defensora de #DDHH y abogada de @AFrontlines, ha denunciado estigmatización y amenazas de muert…

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AFrontlines @AFrontlines Wed Aug 03 19:49:20 +0000 2022

🚨Human rights defender under threat! 🚨 @afrontlines staff lawyer @lmespinosav has received death threats for her w… https://t.co/70qJYRYyxX

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AFrontlines @AFrontlines Tue Aug 02 22:43:20 +0000 2022

Human Rights Defenders are at risk in Ecuador! @AFrontlines Lawyer @lmespinosav is facing death threats for her wo… https://t.co/OOKHdTgIcO

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AFrontlines @AFrontlines Mon Aug 01 18:33:14 +0000 2022

RT @amazonwatch: #Ecuador: @lmespinosav, human rights defender and @AFrontlines lawyer has denounced death threats for defending the rights…

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AFrontlines @AFrontlines Thu Jul 28 22:44:52 +0000 2022

In Ecuador, @AFrontlines' Lawyer & Human Rights Defender @lmespinosav is facing grave threats against her life for… https://t.co/Uy5nWr71Pu

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AFrontlines @AFrontlines Thu Jul 28 22:39:48 +0000 2022

⚠️ALERT: @AFrontlines Lawyer & Rights Defender @lmespinosav has received death threats for her work in support of I… https://t.co/qxNXJH9ZEz

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AFrontlines @AFrontlines Wed Jul 27 16:54:03 +0000 2022

“Opening these forests to oil development will lead to hunting, deforestation, oil pollution, carbon emissions & s… https://t.co/fXY7gLlrvj

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AFrontlines @AFrontlines Wed Jul 27 16:43:25 +0000 2022

RT @LeoDiCaprio: How extensive is deforestation in Amazonia, one of the most important places on the planet for people & wildlife? Accordin…

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AFrontlines @AFrontlines Wed Jul 27 14:49:34 +0000 2022

RT @OneEarth: Pope Francis (@Pontifex) held a historic press conference on the Care of Creation, calling for a @UN agreement protecting 50%…

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Ecuador National Strike Photos

Ecuador National Strike 2022

Protect Indigenous Peoples’
Right to Protest

The undersigned individuals and civil society organizations urgently ask the Ecuadorian State, particularly the judicial institutions, to guarantee due process and to not abuse criminal law to persecute and to deter the work of leaders of the Indigenous movement who have now been criminalized for exercising their legitimate right to protest. 

Likewise, we ask President Guillermo Lasso and the Public Force to respect the mobilization as a legitimate right of protest, and to not use improper force. We demand that you guarantee judicial independence so as to respect the rights of Indigenous leaders and human rights defenders in  carrying out their important functions in a state of law and democracy.  

On Monday, 13 June 2022, CONAIE (the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador), supported by various social movements and organizations, called for a national strike.The mobilization is motivated by the imposition of neoliberal policies by the government that has led to the exacerbation of poverty, the reduction of the general budget of the state in health and education, the reduction of social policies of social equality, the increase of insecurity and violence in various areas of the country, the aggressive imposition of extractive activities (mining and oil), the violation of the collective rights of Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples; and in general, due to the lack of guaranteeing the exercise of economic, social, and cultural rights of the population.

Since the beginning of the national mobilization, the response of the state has been to stigmatize, repress, and criminalize the protest in various parts of the country. As a result, there have been multiple acts of persecution, criminalization, and abusive and disproportionate use of force against dozens of leaders and protestors, as well as the denial of freedoms by state security agents.

On 14 June 2022, the President of CONAIE and leader of the Indigenous movement, Leonidas Iza Salazar, was arbitrarily detained by members of the armed forces of Ecuador and agents of the national police, for 24 hours, during which he remained in isolation for more than 15 hours, his whereabouts unknown for much of this time; without being able to contact his family and lawyers, detained in police and military custody without being informed of why he was being detained. 

Despite these rights violations, a judge declared the legality of Iza’s detention and began criminal proceedings against him for allegedly stopping public services; in a clear example of criminalizing and attempting to crush the universal right to social protest, using the Indigenous movement leader as an example. 

The legal future of Iza continues to be uncertain while he awaits his hearing on 4 July 2022, where the judges will determine his presumed responsibility for the acts for which he is being investigated. We remain deeply concerned that the rights of Leonidas Iza are being abused and that he will be sentenced with the intention to silence the Indigenous leader and to discourage the Indigenous movement.

For these reasons, we make an emphatic call to the National Council of the Judiciary and the Attorney General Office to guarantee due process and that the Constitutionally-granted right to protest be protected. The criminalization of social protest violates the rights of Indigenous communities that intend to resist precarious living conditions, unemployment, and extractive activities that threaten their health, territories, and ways of life. 

The government of Ecuador’s current treatment of the ongoing social protest and the resolution of the legal case against Leonidas Iza will send a clear message to the territories, the country, and to the world of whether Ecuador is a country that represses the rights of Indigenous peoples and social movements, or whether it respects the right to demand fair and inclusive policies that ensure the wellbeing of its people.