Ecuador: Let human rights defenders continue their work unimpeded

On 12 December, 2013, ESCR-Net sent a letter to the Government of Ecuador to express concern about the recent closure of offices of Fundación Pachamama, an organization that works to promote an innovative, alternative development model in the Amazon region and the recognition of and respect for human rights. Fundación Pachamama has participated in ESCR-Net's project on Enforcement of ESCR Judgments with regards to the implementation of key decisions on Indigenous Rights issued by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights. Fundación Pachamama has also worked to promote the rights of indigenous peoples, particularly the right to free, prior and informed consent, who have expressed concerns about the potential impacts of oil development on their way of life and means of subsistence.

The letter raises concern that the decision to close the organization’s office in Quito may represent an act of reprisal against the work of Fundación Pachamama to protect and defend human rights in Ecuador. The letter calls on the Government of Ecuador to work towards the progressive fulfillment of economic, social and cultural rights; to ensure the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous communities; and to refrain from taking measures to impede activities by civil society organizations undertaken in defense of human rights. It urges Ecuador to cease imposing restrictions on Fundación Pachamama and to allow the organization to resume its normal activities in the defense and promotion of human rights, and to undertake all possible measures to respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of all people – including indigenous peoples who have voiced their opposition to oil exploration in their territories.

See the complete letter here.