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Ecuador: Young Climate Activist Faces Intimidation at Home

Leonela Moncayo, a 14-year-old climate activist, reported that on February 26, a bomb (an improvised explosive device) went off outside her house. This came just five days after a government official criticized Leonela and eight other young girls for their work against routine gas flaring. Because of their activism, Leonela, her family, and these eight other young activists might be in danger. We’re calling on the leaders of Ecuador to look into this incident properly, to stop blaming these young activists, and to make sure they can do their important work safely.

Here’s what you can do:

Write to the Attorney General urging her to:

  • Conduct a thorough, fair, and unbiased investigation into the attack on Leonela Moncayo and her family. Ensure anyone who might be responsible, whether they directly did it or planned it, faces a fair trial.
  • Ensure the authorities in Ecuador stop unfairly criticizing the nine young girls who are speaking out. They need to be safe and supported so they can continue their important work in protecting human rights and fighting climate change. These girls are courageous advocates for our environment.

Write to:

Ms. General Attorney Diana Salazar

Juan León Mera N19-36 y Av. Patria,

Edificio Fiscalía General del Estado Quito

Quito, Ecuador

Email: despacho@fiscalia.gob.ec / mogollonf@fiscalia.gob.ec

X (Twitter): @DianaSalazarM2

Salutation: Dear Attorney General,

And copy:

His Excellency Carlos Alberto Patricio Jativa Naranjo


Embassy of the Republic of Ecuador

99 Bank Street, Suite 230

Ottawa, ON K1P 6B9

Tel: (613) 563-8206

Email: eecucanada@cancilleria.gob.ec

Leonela Moncayo: Young Climate Advocate

Leonela Moncayo, hailing from the Ecuadorian Amazon, is a vibrant climate activist and the daughter of two esteemed human rights defenders associated with “Unión de Afectados por Texaco” (UDAPT). She is part of a group of young Amazonian girls who, together with UDAPT, won a significant legal victory against the environmental damage caused by routine gas flaring in Ecuador’s Sucumbíos and Orellana provinces. This practice, which releases large amounts of methane, significantly contributes to the climate crisis and adversely affects the health of nearby communities.

On July 29, 2021, the Sucumbíos Provincial Court ruled that the Ecuadorian State had violated environmental and health rights by allowing gas flaring to continue unchecked, failing to address its climate change obligations. The court mandated the cessation of gas flaring, particularly near residential areas, and called for reparations for the affected communities. Despite this, the government’s response has been largely symbolic, with limited action taken towards actual environmental restoration or health reparations.

Resistance and Retaliation

In a display of resilience, Leonela and three other girls confronted the Minister of Energy and Mines during a National Assembly session on February 21, 2024, challenging the claim of compliance with the court’s ruling. The Minister’s dismissal of their concerns and insinuation of manipulation sparked outrage.

This event is emblematic of the broader challenges faced by human rights defenders in Ecuador, where authorities frequently fail to protect activists, particularly those advocating for land, territory, and environmental rights. International organizations like Amnesty International have highlighted the ongoing risks and stigmatization faced by these defenders, underscoring the urgent need for a safer and more supportive environment for their crucial work.

Please take action as soon as possible until April 30, 2024! The UA will be duly updated should there be the need for further action.