Cultural Rights

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On April 27, 1998, oil company Arco Oriente Inc. signed an hydrocarbon development agreement with Ecuador. Although 70% of the land belonging to Federación Independiente del Pueblo Shuar del Ecuador (FIPSE) was within the area to be devoted to the project, its members were not notified of the terms of the agreement or the related environmental impact. FIPSE, in a Special Meeting of its members, decided to prohibit all individual negotiations or agreements by FIPSE Member Centers or Associations with the company. This was notified to both the State and the company.

The Mapuche Pehuenche people of the Upper Bío Bío sector, in the Eighth Region of Chile, started a long fight to defend their rights when the Government of Chile authorized the construction of hydroelectric plants that would have deep consequences on their ancestral land and culture.

The Yakye Axa community, a Paraguayan indigenous community belonging to the Lengua Enxet Sur people, filed a complaint with the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) alleging Paraguay had failed to acknowledge its right to property over ancestral land. Given its impossibility to solve the case, the Commission referred it to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

A permit was granted by the Central Forestry Board to a private company to quarry stone from the Etela-Riutusvaara mountain. Indigenous members of the Muotkatunturi Herdsmen's Committee asserted that the quarrying of the stone and its transportation through their reindeer herding territory would violate their right to enjoy their culture under Article 27 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).