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Ecuador: Attack against Indigenous Woman Human Rights Defender

    Friday, January 12, 2018 - 11:49
    Patricia Gualinga Indigenous woman human rights defender

    Patricia Gualinga, Kichwa leader of the Pueblo of Sarayaku, Ecuador – Photo via Emily Arasim/ Women's Earth & Climate Action Network

    Download PDF of UA 8/18 Ecuador

    PDF icon8 Ecuador.pdf

    Patricia Gualinga, Indigenous woman human rights defender, reported that on 5 January an unknown man attacked her home in Puyo, Pastaza province, throwing stones at the windows while yelling death threats against her.

    Early morning on 5 January, an unknown man attacked Patricia Gualinga’s home in Puyo, Pastaza province, throwing stones at the windows while yelling death threats at her. At that time, Patricia Gualinga was at home with her parents and child. That same day she reported the incident to the National Police and filed a complaint before the Attorney General’s Office of Pastaza province. To date, Patricia Gualinga and her family have not received any protection measures and there has been no significant progress in the investigation.

    Patricia Gualinga is a Kichwa leader of the Sarayaku Indigenous Peoples, whose ancestral lands are located in eastern Ecuador. She works to defend rights related to land, territory and the environment in the context of extractive projects in the Ecuadorian Amazon, including oil concessions in the ancestral lands of Indigenous Peoples such as of the Kichwa of Sarayaku, the Sápara, Achuar Shuar, Shiwiar, the communities of Santa Clara, San Jacinto and the cities of Puyo and Shell-Mera.

    Many Indigenous leaders and human rights defenders from the aforementioned communities have expressed their concerns regarding the effects that oil exploration and extraction could have on their lands, territories and water sources, such as the Villano and Curaray river basins, and have previously reported threats and harassment as a consequence of their human rights work. In December 2017, after days of mobilizations and a meeting with the Ecuadorian Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (Conaie), President Lenin Morales promised the suspension of new oil and mining concessions in Indigenous lands that have been accorded without “prior consultation”.

    Indigenous women human rights defenders in Ecuador and many other parts of the world are more likely to experience discrimination, threats, and violence than their non-Indigenous male counterparts because their activism is seen to threaten traditional power structures and gender roles.

    Please send a letter, email, tweet or fax without delay.

    • Start with a sentence about yourself to make your message unique.
    • Call on the Minister of Interior to issue protection measures to safeguard the integrity of Patricia Gualinga and her family, in consultation with her and in accordance with her wishes.
    • Urge the Minister of Interior to publicly recognize her legitimate work, and the work of all people who defend rights related to land, territory and the environment; to ensure that human rights defenders enjoy a safe and enabling environment.
    • Call on the Ombudsman to ensure that protection measures are taken to safeguard the integrity of Patricia Gualinga and her family and investigate the security situation of human right defenders particularly those who defend rights related to land, territory and the environment.
    • Call on the Attorney General to promptly and thoroughly investigate the attack, make the results public and bring the material and intellectual perpetrators to justice.


    Addrss your appeals to:

    Minister of Interior      

    César Navas Vera

    Benalcázar N4-24 y Espejo,

    C.P. 170401

    Quito, Ecuador


    Salutation:        Dear Sir/ Estimado Señor



    Dr. Ramiro Rivadeneira Silva

    Av. de La Prensa N 54-97 y Jorge Piedra

    Quito, Ecuador           


    Salutation:       Dear Sir/ Estimado Señor


    Attorney General

    Dr. Carlos Baca Mancheno

    Av. Patria y 12 de Octubre Edificio Patria

    Quito, Ecuador


    Salutation:       Dear Sir/ Estimado Señor


    Please send a copy to:

    His Excellency Juan Diego Stacey Moreno

    Ambassador for Ecuador

    99 Bank Street, Suite 230

    Ottawa, Ontario K1P 6B9

    Fax:                 1 (613) 235-5776


    Additional Information:

    In June 2012, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) issued a judgment against Ecuador in a case concerning the Sarayaku Indigenous People, after a foreign oil company was allowed to encroach on their traditional lands in the early 2000s without consultation with the Sarayaku. The IACtHR found that the Ecuadorian state violated the community’s right to be consulted, as well as their community property rights and their cultural identity. The Court also found Ecuador responsible for putting the life and physical integrity of the Sarayaku at grave risk, after the oil company placed more than 1,400 kg of high-grade explosives on the Indigenous People’s territory. Ecuador has not yet fully complied with the judgment. Patricia Gualinga was a key leader throughout this process.

    Take your activism further!

    TAKE ACTION - Demand protection for Lolita Chávez and other Indigenous women at risk in Guatemala

    TAKE ACTION - Demand protection for Indigenous land and water defenders in Honduras

    LEARN MORE - about Amnesty's Canada's work on water defenders

    LEARN MORE - about Amnesty's work in Ecuador

    If you wish to receive updates on this case, email In the subject line, write “Keep me updated on UA 8/18 "Ecuador".


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