Photo: © Sergio Ortiz, Itzel Plascencia
Ecuador signed the landmark Escazú Agreement in 2020 that enshrines the right to a healthy environment and to participate in environmental decision-making, as well as access to environmental justice and protection of environmental human rights defenders. Yet Patricia Gualinga and other women defenders of Mujeres Amazónicas are still waiting for justice and protection.
Authorities have failed to bring to justice those who threatened and attacked the women, as they sought to stop harms from resource extraction to the unique ecosystem of the Amazon and all who depend on it for their survival.
Ecuadoran authorities also have yet to put in place a public policy to ensure protection for threatened environmental human rights defenders and to properly investigate attacks on them.
Meanwhile, authorities and companies continue to disregard Indigenous rights as oil operations are permitted without meaningful consultation or the free, prior and informed consent of affected Indigenous Peoples, even though the projects impact Indigenous territories and their right to a healthy environment.
Recent oil spills in Ecuador’s Amazon focus attention on what is at stake. The resulting pollution affected the water, food and livelihoods of thousands of people.