One of Amazon Watch’s oldest allies and one of Ecuador’s longest-standing environmental NGOs, Acción Ecológica, is under attack today for speaking out against repression of indigenous activists, and those activists themselves are at risk. We need your immediate action to demand that the government of Ecuador respect the rights of its citizens and the environment.
Yesterday afternoon, the Ecuador Environment Ministry notified the pioneering environmental group Acción Ecológica of its intention to shut it down for publicly raising environmental and indigenous rights concerns over a planned copper mega mine on the lands of the Shuar indigenous people. Acción believes that pressure for the closure came from Chinese mining consortium EXSA, which is advancing the project in the southern Ecuadorian Amazon without consultation or consent of the communities.
Shuar territory and surrounding towns are currently under a state of emergency and heavily militarized after a recent clash with police at the mine site. The same night as the Acción Ecológica closure notice, the national police raided the offices of the Shuar federation and detained its president, Agustín Wachapa. And Ecuador’s president has publicly defamed indigenous Shuar and Sarayaku leaders.
This calculated reprisal from the company and government to shut down the country’s leading grassroots environmental group and repress indigenous activists is a blatant attack on their rights and is a threat to all of us around the world who stands up for the earth and its people.
Demand that they immediately cancel efforts to revoke Acción Ecológica’s license to operate as a non-governmental organization in Ecuador, halt the repression of indigenous leaders, and end the state of emergency. Any government with a constitutional protection for the rights of nature must protect the rights of its citizens who work to defend the environment.