Today is an important day in the fight for justice in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Victims of a major oil spill, which occurred last month and has wreaked havoc on local ecosystems and the health of indigenous communities, will testify in a virtual hearing before a judge.
This hearing will give the Amazon Frontlines team and our partners an official venue to make a strong case in our lawsuit against the government and oil companies. Although we can’t pack an actual courtroom today in solidarity, we want to make sure the voices of indigenous communities harmed by this disaster resonate across the world.
We have recorded their “virtual testimonies” for you, and now we need your help amplifying their stories.
Around 120,000 people living along the Coca and Napo Rivers have been impacted by the spill, a tragedy that could have been avoided if the State and oil companies had heeded warnings from experts months before the pipelines broke.
In Kichwa indigenous communities along the river, mothers and fathers have been documenting mysterious rashes and irritation on their children’s skin since the spill. Massive flooding has sent the oil into creeks and gardens where families grow food, making it nearly impossible to avoid contact with the contamination. Emergency supplies dropped off by the oil companies have been woefully insufficient, so we have been organizing alongside our indigenous partners to deliver humanitarian aid.
Hear plaintiff Carlos Jipa, President of the regional Kichwa peoples’ indigenous federation, FCUNAE, describe the impact of the oil spill on the river and his people, as well as Monsignor Adalberto Jímenez, a Catholic bishop who joined the lawsuit to defend the rights of affected indigenous peoples and rural communities.
You will also hear Amazon Frontlines’ head lawyer for the case, Maria Espinosa, describe our simple and clear demands: that the government conduct environmental remediation, provide relief to impacted communities, and take steps to ensure this never happens again.
Please stand with indigenous communities today in their fight for justice.
Senior Attorney, Rights Defenders