Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Costa Rica, July 2011.
The Indigenous Kichwa People of Sarayaku (Pueblo Originario Kichwa de Sarayaku) of Ecuador is campaigning for their right to be consulted, including their right to consent, regarding development projects that affect them. Some time ago, the government authorized a company to enter their ancestral land and drill for oil without having consulted with Sarayaku beforehand.
Sarayaku’s case is representative of the case of many other Indigenous communities across the Americas. But they have gone a step farther. Having exhausted all judicial avenues at home, they have taken their case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The Court’s forthcoming ruling will send a strong message to the Ecuadorian government and to all governments across the region.
Amnesty International is supporting Sarayaku’s campaign to defend their own rights and the rights of many other communities across the Americas. Governments must consult with Indigenous people before carrying out development projects which may affect their lives.