Saturday, August 17, 2013

C-CONDEM demands prohibition of electric fences and the repeal of gun permits for the shrimp industry

After the death of a new crab gather in the province of El Oro recently, the C-CONDEM requires government authorities to ban electrification of fences in mangrove areas and the repeal of permits to carry weapons for the shrimp industry.

On Monday, members of the C-CONDEM with a large representation of community members from various mangrove areas of the five coastal provinces, met with Minister Javier Ponce to document the various acts of violence involving the shrimp farm industry in mangrove areas. Ponce Minister had occasion to hear the talk of widows and families of victims, as local villagers have been killed by gunshot wounds, torn by dogs or electrocuted on electric fences on their way to perform their tasks of shellfish collecting, crabbing or performing fishing activities.

Communities living in mangrove areas reported to the highest authority MAGAP as in many cases, community roads that have been historically used by the inhabitants to reach harvesting areas and fishing areas where they claim their food sovereignty, are being illegally fenced and closed by the shrimp industry. The forced entry into mangrove areas that the shrimp fatm industry has conducted for decades goes against Presidential Decree 1391, by which illegal land occupation in mangrove areas is forbidden. Yet, the fact that these violations by the shrimp industry are being regularized, is exacerbating violence against communities. Certain shrimp farmers are even considered owners of the lands and environments adjacent to their farms, closing roads, mudflats, estuaries and areas of wetlands.

The crabber who died, Heriberto Antonio Zambrano Basurto, lived in the province of El Oro. This incident occrred at the same farm where four years prior a crabber was mauled and killed by the shrimp farm's guard dogs.

The C-CONDEM demands that government authorities require compliance with the regulations in force concerning human rights for Mangrove Ecosystem Ancestral Peoples, and  that the government prohibit electric fences in mangrove areas and that the government sanction the shrimp farmers that violate this prohibition, withdraw the shrimp industry's right to bear arms by removing their licences. They also demand the cessation of land dispossession in the Mangrove Ecosystem and resolution of the issues that are still unresolved before further unjust displacement of  the mangrove communities  due to the illicit activity of the shrimp industry.

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