The spill affected more than 2,000 Indigenous families living along the Coca and Napo rivers, contaminating their food source and their cultural and spiritual way of life. The Indigenous communities were not told about the spill and went out fishing as normal. They used the river water for everyday tasks and are now affected by skin disease and stomach problems.
Children from 60 communities have such issues with their skin. “The oil stains are for life. We demand that the state repair the damage it caused by its lack of attention. Those who are paying the price are the members of the community. No more impunity or injustice!” said Carlos Jipa, community leader and president of the Federation of United Communes of the Ecuadorian Amazon.
A year has passed, but 120,000 people, including 27,000 Indigenous people, continue to face the pandemic without clean water or food that is safe to eat. The rivers, their crops and even their own bodies have been horribly affected. Many of us have joined the struggle of the Amazonian Kichwas for justice and full reparations, and we ask the new court sitting to break the historical cycle of impunity.
It is in the judges’ hands to act fairly and give the victims their livelihoods back, while demanding full reparations from the state and the companies responsible. This violation of the rights of communities and nature by unscrupulous oil companies cannot go unpunished.