Saturday, December 22, 2012

Letter of Deep Concern for Human Rights Violations in Ecuador

TO:             Mr Xavier Ponce, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Aquaculture and Fisheries, Ecuador
16 December 2012

Honorable Minister,

RE: Violent eviction of ancestral villages in Ecuador’s mangrove ecosystem

 We, at Mangrove Action Project are deeply shocked and troubled by the news concerning the violent eviction of local ancestral resource users from the mangrove ecosystem in Bilsa village, Muisne, Esmeralda province. The high-handed police action of burning the villagers’ homes and their assets, even without allowing them time to take away their personal belongings, and destroying their livelihoods and community projects, such as small scale farming and crab harvesting, is highly questionable and reprehensible. There was no mercy even for children and elderly people, confirming that it was planned with a cruel intent. This action amounts to unwarranted violation of the human dignity and rights of the people concerned. It is an action in violation of the Constitution of Ecuador and international human rights treaties.
These communities do not represent a threat to the mangrove ecosystem but are rather stewards and guardians of this vital ecosystem, as their economic activities are in line with sustainable use and conservation, and their presence prevents external destructive activities (such as industrial shrimp farming) from entering the ecosystem. They should be supported and encouraged instead of humiliated and evicted.
We express our solidarity with the affected people of Bilsa and we urge you to use your position to investigate the action of the police and those responsible for planning this vile action and bring them to justice. The human rights and dignity of the Bilsa community must be respected and restored as soon as possible.
We would also like to take this opportunity to request information about other evictions of mangrove-dependent local communities that have recently taken place in Guabo, El Oro Province; in Verdum, Manabi Province; and in Pechiche, Montanita, Santa Elena Province. 

Looking forward to receiving a response from you.

Thank you for your attention.

For the Mangroves And the Mangrove Communities!

Alfredo Quarto,
Executive Director
Mangrove Action Project

cc: Mr Rafael Correa Delgado, President of Ecuador

Dr Fernando Cordero, President of the National Assembly of Ecuador:

Mr Linder Altafuya, Assemblyman for the Esmeralda Province:

Dr Hugo Oliva, UnderSecretary of Land:
asistente del ministro de agricultura:

1 comment:

  1. Having got to know both the Native people in the villages, towns and cities in both rural, coastal and the inland areas of the country of Ecuador, I can find not one far sighted rhyme or reason for causing or allowing the destruction of any one meter of Mangrove habitat along the coast of the country. Ecuador is where the whole community directly and indirectly depend on the natural environment and one of the major natural resources of the coastal areas are the Mangroves that are the most natural providers of both marine foods' breeding and feeding areas, but also provide the safety for the coastline of the country from catastrophes such Tsunamis caused by ocean floor earthquakes that can murder the people that live and earn their income from caring for the Mangrove areas and getting the marine provided foods for the National community as well as the exportability of any surplus that might be found then to become Foreign income for the people of the Country.

    Congratulations to the Mangrove Action Project and the people of Ecuador that are unselfishly working to teach and so to protect one of the major resources of the whole World's Human population through the responsibility that we all have for the Natural resources of our countries that provide one the greatest needs of the People.