Tribunal Denounces Violations to Rights of Nature

Press Release – International Rights of Nature Tribunal Day 1

Lima, December 6th, 2014-12-06

  • Indigenous peoples represent nature and denounce violations to indigenous rights and  rights of nature perpetuated by States and transnational corporations.
  • Native peoples warn the world about corporate impunity.

During the first day of the  International Rights of Nature  Tribunal six cases were presented: four Amazonian river basins in Loreto; BP; Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Chevron/Texaco in Ecuador; Conga Mine of Peru; Belo Monte in Brazil and Condor Mirador in Ecuador. Transnational corporations and States are under scrutiny by the International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature which is being held in Lima, Friday December 5 – Saturday December 6. Cases of national and international importance are being heard to present the violations of the rights of nature and indigenous rights within the framework of the COP20 in Lima.

“This permanent ethical Tribunal is a call to humanity to get close to nature. The cases have been created when States fail to fulfill their obligation to preserve the lives of living beings,” said Alberto Acosta, President of the Tribunal and former president of the Constitutional Assembly of Ecuador.

Peruvian Cases: Conga and Pluspetrol (4 river basins)

“Yanacocha in Cajamarca is a deep wound on Mother Earth,” lamented Milton Sanchez from the Plataforma Interinstitucional Celendín. Sanchez told the audience about the whole trajectory of contamination at Yanacocha. Also, the environmentalist denounced that this project will destroy water sources in the region.

“85,000 tons of toxic sludge per day will be poured for 17 years” he said. Milton condemed President Humala for failing to meet his promise to ensure the right to water of communities. José de Echave, director of CooperAcción, said that free, prior, and informed consent was not done with the inhabitants, despite the Consultation Law. He further stressed that the Environmental Impact Assessment presented was “inconsistent, incomplete and violated national standards.”

Regarding the case of block 192 in the Loreto jungle, José Fachín represented the Pastaza basin. He told the Tribunal that a year ago he was imprisoned, tortured and judicialized. He affirms that “for over forty years, the oil industry has caused the death of humans and animals.” Although the state has declared a state of Emergency, he denounced the Government’s and Pluspetrol’s lack of action. He demands to sanction Pluspetrol and to determine the State’s responsibilities for not protecting their rights and the rights of nature.

Ecuadorian cases: Condor Mirador and Chevron-Texaco

The Condor Highland is crossed by a series of large scale mining projects, such as Condor Mirador. Luis Corral, defender of human and nature rights, said that this case violates collective and nature rights. He denounced the murder of the social activist, José Tendentza, who was summoned to attend the Tribunal as a witness for this case. The Shuar leader, Ankuash, condemned this project and declared, “Nature and humans are allies, if one disappears, the other does too.” Meanwhile, Narcisa Aucay, inhabitant of the region said, “they are not going to shut us down. We have been taught to live freely, with honor and dignity.”

Also presented in the Tribunal was the case of Chevron-Texaco that extracted oil since 1967 in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The corporation built 860 pools where toxic waste was dumped. Currently, there are more than 2,000 cases of cancer attributable to toxic waste dumped by the oil activity. Pablo Fajardo, lawyer for the Chevron victims concludes that “the case was won, but the Ecuadorian Amazon is not clean”; he also informed that Chevron does not accept the judgments for environmental remediation, so there is an affectation to the international rights.”

BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Case

Esperanza Martínez, from Oilwatch, presented the case of the oils spill in 2010 of the oil platform of the Gulf of Mexico that caused the spill of 5 millions of barrels of oil and the death of 11 workers. Martinez described the spill as the “worst in humanity’s lifetime” and de denounces the effect of millions of species that live in the ocean. She also informed the Tribunal that the cleaning mecanism used by the BP company that reduced oil particles that are now absorbed by the species. Brazilian case of Belo Monte The Tribunal also heard the BP case, the mega-dam built now up to 50% and that will become the third in the world. “The people’s food is being affected, fishing is no longer an option in the region. Nacionalities cannot drink their own water due to the hydroelectric activity” warned Sonia Guajajara.

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