Historical ruling in favor of the A'i Cofan de Sinangoe nationality against mining
Lago Agrio (Sucumbíos). On Monday, October 22, 2018, the Provincial Court of Sucumbíos sentenced in favor ot the A'i Cofan Community of Sinangoe in the action of protection requested by Ombudsman and the A'i Cofán de Sinangoe community, ruling to revert all the concessions that
were operating and cancel the granting of the new concessions.
The court recognized violations to the collective rights of free and informed prior consultation, the right to water and the rights of nature and the environment. In addition, the court ordered teh remediation of impacted areas and it asked that the Office of the Prosecutor and Comptroller, undertake the relevant investigations.
It took months of demanding justice and reparation as part of a protection action lawsuit, in which the A'i Cofan community of Sinangoe denounced four ministries of the Ecuadorian State for the granting of 32,000 hectares to mining concessions in the area of the Cofanes rivers,
Chingual and Aguarico, without consultation.
"Sinangoe is fighting for the welfare of all, not only for the A'i Cofán people
but for all the people of the province of Sucumbíos, and the nationalities - A'i Cofán,Siona, Secoya and Kichwa and others that we are joining together to defend the rivers.
This victory is a great achievement for our children and for future generations. We will continue to watch our territory and struggle to have our land title, "said Mario Criollo, President of the ancestral community A'i Cofán de Sinangoe.
The judgment of the court recognizes that the mining activity, in any of its phases, in the hydrographic basins and in the vicinity of a protected area, represents a direct threat and serious to the right to water, to the territory, to the prior consultation and to the life of the A'i Cofán community of
Sinangoe and the riverside communities of Aguarico.
In its most important part, the ruling resolved to declare the constitutional rights against the A'I Cofán village of Sinangoe violated. The ruling recognized for the community's customs respected as well as its
ancestral forms of life which constitutes an irreplaceable wealth; such as the right to a a dignified life which guarantees a biodiverse environment where Sinangoe has sustained itself, but particularly the right to water.
As a result, the mining concessions are invalid, in light of the fact that these not only affect the Cofán de Sinangoe people, but also other peoples on
banks of the Aguarico. Therefore, it is the obligation of the State to protect these areas and, as such, to prohibit exploration, exploitation and marketing of gold in these areas.
This victory represents an important precedent for the Sinangoe community and for all indigenous peoples of Ecuador who defend their territories and their integrity from extractivism.
It is worth mentioning that the recognition of the Cofán, Chingual and Aguarico rivers as a water zone protected by the SENAGUA agency reinforces the judgment and the argumentation of the case, and
represents a step forward towards the recognition and application of the rights of nature.
The community thanks all the sister organizations and peoples that supported Sinangoe in this process of struggle. This victory is for all of us who take part in this fight.
Mario Pablo Criollo - President of the A'I Cofán Sinangoe Community - 0991370756
Alex Lucitante - Defender of Human Rights - 0999469780 - firstname.lastname@example.org
María Espinosa - Sinangoe Community Defender - email@example.com