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Human Rights Court Rules in Favor of Community Over Ecuadorian Government

August 01, 2012
“Sarayaku expresses its satisfaction with this victory … and we will be alert to ensure that the sentence is enforced and that Indigenous Peoples’ lands are respected in the face of harmful extractive activities such as oil exploration,
- community president José Gualinga

In a case that could have broad implications, the Kichwa community of Sarayaku, Ecuador, won a major battle on July 25, when the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that the Ecuadorian government had violated its rights to communal property and cultural identity.

The court’s ruling could have implications for the next auction of oil leases in Ecuador, some of which overlap indigenous territories near Ecuador’s southern border with Peru.

“The court clearly establishes that consultation has to be done not only with the Sarayaku community, but with all other communities in Ecuador,” Quintana said.

The court ordered Ecuador to bring its legislation into line with international law on prior consultation and to train the military, police, judiciary workers and other state officials on indigenous rights.

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