Indigenous Nations Unite To Defend Waorani Victory - Amazon Frontlines

by Amazon Frontlines

/ May 2019

In the wake of the Waorani people’s recent historic victory, which protects half a million acres of their rainforest territory in Ecuador’s Amazon from oil drilling and sets a key legal precedent for indigenous rights, the government declared that it would appeal the court’s decision. This move poses an imminent threat to indigenous autonomy and the conservation of the Amazon rainforest, the lungs of our planet.

Last week, in Ecuador’s capital city of Quito, the Waorani people spearheaded a mass mobilization, during which hundreds of indigenous peoples from nations including the Kichwa, Sapara, Andoa, Shiwiar, Achuar and Shuar, came together to protect the Waorani victory and to send a clear message to the government: respect indigenous rights.

Recent statements from the Ministry of Energy and Non-Renewable Resources aimed at pressuring the judiciary to overturn the ruling. “The Ecuadorian government has no right to decide over what happens in our territory. We are the ones who make the decisions over lands and lives. The government has every right to appeal and we are not afraid – whether we win or lose this legal case, we will continue to fight because our forest is our life”, affirmed Oswando Nenquimo, a young Waorani spokesperson and plaintiff for the case.

“We have defended our forest for thousands of years, and today we continue to fight”, declared Nemonte Nenquimo, Waorani leader and lead plaintiff outside the head offices of the Ministry of Energy and Non-Renewable Resources in Quito. “The government must listen to our voices and must respect our rights. Our territory is not for sale: this is our decision. How can the government put our lives at risk all in the name of the last drops of crude oil? I’m calling on everyone to stand with us and to unite with our movement: this struggle isn’t just of the Waorani people – it’s for everyone, it’s for our planet.”

Now is a critical time to ramp up support for the Waorani’s urgent struggle to protect the Amazon, and your voice counts. Share your favorite photograph and send a message to the the Ecuadorian government demanding respect for the court’s decision, and to show the judicial system that the world is watching. Together, we can defend indigenous rights in the Amazon!

The Waorani people are joined by hundreds of indigenous peoples from nations including the Kichwa, Sapara, Andoa, Shiwiar, Achuar and Shuar, whose lives and lands are also threatened by oil drilling in the Ecuadorian Amazon

At the headquarters of indigenous national organization CONAIE in Ecuador’s capital city of Quito, the Waorani and other indigenous nations prepare their banners and artwork for the mobilization on 16th May 2019

The Waorani people, alongside other indigenous nations, march in defense of their historic legal victory protecting half-a-million acres of their rainforest territory in the Ecuadorian Amazon

Indigenous peoples of the Ecuadorian Amazon march through the streets of the capital city of Quito in defense of the Waorani people’s landmark legal victory

Jaime Vargas, President of national indigenous organization CONAIE, marches alongside Waorani women including Waorani leader and lead plaintiff Nemonte Nenquimo and Omanka Enquiri, Waorani traditional leader (“Pikenani”)

Omanka Enquiri, Waorani traditional leader (“Pikenani”) speaks during a press conference outside the headquarters of the Ministry of Energy and Non-Renewable Resources in the city of Quito

“We will not allow the oil companies to enter our territory and we will not allow the government to place fossil fuel extraction over our rights”, declared Omanka Enquiri, Waorani traditional leader (“Pikenani”) during a press conference outside the headquarters of the Ministry of Energy and Non-Renewable Resources in the city of Quito

“The government must respect our right to life”, declared Waorani leader and lead plaintiff Nemonte Nenquimo during a press conference outside the headquarters of the Ministry of Energy and Non-Renewable Resources in the capital city of Quito

Waorani women march past the headquarters of Petroamazonas Ecuador S.A., a unit of Ecuadoran state oil company Petroecuador in the city of Quito

Hundreds of indigenous peoples from different tribes of the Ecuadorian Amazon mobilize in Quito on 16th May 2019

Indigenous women of the Shuar nation join in the Waorani people’s mobilization in the city of Quito

A young man from the Shuar nation of the Ecuadorian Amazon sings along with protest chants at the Waorani’s mobilization in Quito

President of Ecuador’s national indigenous organization Jaime Vargas marches alongside Waorani leader and lead plaintiff Nemonte Nenquimo

Young Kichwa leaders join in the Waorani people’s mobilization in the city of Quito

The Waorani people spearhead a mass mobilization in the city of Quito to demand the government to respect the court’s decision and indigenous rights

A young indigenous filmmaker from the Sapara nation films the mobilization in the city of Quito

Kofan leaders from the small community of Sinangoe, which won a landmark ruling against gold mining last year, join in the Waorani people’s mobilization

A young Kichwa leader chants during the mobilization in the city of Quito

The Waorani people are joined by hundreds of indigenous peoples from nations including the Kichwa, Sapara, Andoa, Shiwiar, Achuar and Shuar, whose lives and lands are also threatened by oil drilling in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

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