A criminal court in Puyo, central Ecuador, has accepted a Waorani bid for protection after two weeks of discussions to cease the process of oil bidding after the government proceeded to explore about 180,000 hectares of land.
These lands have been protected under the constitution of Ecuador as “inalienable, unseizable, and indivisible” rights of native people “to maintain possession of their ancestral lands and obtain their free adjudication.” However, the riches in the subsoil is in ownership of the state.
The constitution preserves the necessity for prior discussions on the plans to use the resources underground because of the cultural and environmental impacts on the community of the tribes.
An agreement was reached with the Waorani for the exploration that was supposed to be done in 2012, however, the leaders of the tribe thought that they were tricked.
The government was ordered by the judges to direct new discussions that will apply the standards by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that is based in San Jose.
The decision “has created a significant precedent for the Amazon,” Lina Maria Espinosa, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, states outside the courtyard.
“It has been demonstrated that there was no consultation and that the state violated the rights of this people, and therefore of other peoples.” The Waorani also live in other Amazonian provinces and are around 4,800 in number.