News Release

Ecuadorian Indigenous Organization Denounces PDAC Indigenous Leaders’ Roundtable

Source: 
Shuar-Achuar Interfederational Committee – MiningWatch Canada

The presidents of the six associations of the Indigenous Shuar Arutam Peoples (PSHA) today released a strong statement against the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) annual conference for “advertisements and events that oppose this position and confuse public opinion with illegitimate representatives paid by mining companies.”

The PDAC conference is used to promote Canadian mining investment across the globe, and this year’s one-day dedication to Ecuador includes a specific panel related to that country’s consultation process. The roundtable entitled "Indigenous leaders roundtable: The mosaic of perspectives in exploration-lead community development," advertises the participation of Shuar Chief Ruben Pitiur to discuss the Indigenous perspective in the Warintza project, a mining project owned by Canadian mining company Solaris. According to the Shuar Peoples’ government, he is an “illegitimate representative” and “does not represent [them]”.

In response to PDAC’s advertisement of this roundtable, the PSHA produced a statement today that strongly repudiates the event.

Shuar-Achuar Interfederational Committee, CONFENIAE and CONAIE statement on the mining convention in Canada (PDAC 2021)

(Sucúa, Ecuador) The Shuar-Achuar Interfederational Committee, made up of the Interprovincial Federation of Shuar Centres (FICSH), Shuar Arutam Peoples (PSHA), Shuar Nation of Ecuador (NASHE) and Achuar Nationality of Ecuador (NAE), the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon (CONFENIAE) and the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) on the occasion of the PDAC mining convention (Canada, March 8, 2021) declare:

In compliance with articles 56 and 57 of Ecuador's political constitution and International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 169, on the inviolability of Indigenous Peoples' rights and the indefeasible and imprescriptible nature of Indigenous territories, as well as the resolutions and powers conferred to us in the statutes of our organizations, Plans of Life and Assemblies, we publicly declare that:

1. The official position of the Shuar and Achuar Nations is to reject extractivism and large-scale transnational mining that seeks to encroach on our collective territories. This position is voiced by our representatives – the authorities of almost 700 Shuar and Achuar communities – who have made decisions through collective assembly for more than 60 years. We are the legal and legitimate authorities of our Nation, and we obey the mandate from our grassroots assemblies.

2. We inform the Mining Convention in Canada PDAC 2021 and the companies and investors that participate in that event, that our rejection of mining was ratified on February 28, 2021, in Sucúa, in the Resolution of the Magna Assembly of our majority organization -- the Interprovincial Federation of Shuar Centers (FICSH).

3. "The Fifty-Eighth Ordinary General Assembly unanimously decides NO TO EXTRACTION AND MINING ACTIVITY in the territories of the FICSH, in accordance with the principles enshrined in the Constitution and in the COOTAD [Organic Code of Territorial Organisation, Autonomy, and Decentralization – Código Orgánico de Organización Territorial, Autonomía y Descentralización] of conserving the imprescriptible property of communal lands that will be inalienable, indefeasible and indivisible." Likewise, the Interfederational Committee of the Shuar and Achuar Nationalities rejected mining in an assembly on November 27, 2020, giving an ultimatum to companies to withdraw from their territories and initiating legal action, as reported by the four presidents in the Declaration of Maikiuants from December 11, 2020. On January 29, 2021, the Shuar Arutam People presented their legal complaint before the International Labor Organization (ILO) against the State of Ecuador for violation of ILO Convention 169.

4. Therefore, we reject all advertisement and events that are contrary to this position and that confuse public opinion by using illegitimate representatives paid by mining companies, including at the "Indigenous leaders roundtable: The mosaic of perspectives in exploration-lead community development," which will be held in Toronto, Canada, on March 10, 2021. We reject all illegal agreements made by mining companies with leaders or isolated communities outside our legitimate territories (as in the case of Warints). The participation in the mining convention in a personal capacity by members of our Nation or by illegitimate organizations who do not represent a base or hold territory -- created only to serve transnational companies – do not represent us, because they do not defend the collective rights of our Nation. In this sense, WE ALERT the national and international community to ignore the FALSE Shuar leaders, who do not represent the dignity and honour of the Shuar families who are fighters and defenders of our territory. Furthermore, we advise that necessary and preventive measures will be taken for the application of the Indigenous Law.

5. We denounce Canadian companies: Lowell, Solaris Resources, Solgold, Proyecmin S.A. and others that carry out their activities in the Shuar territory, as well as the State of Ecuador, which has illegally concessioned our territories in violation of our right to consultation and consent. In light of this situation, we will continue fighting to defend our forests and appreciation of our culture. Humanity must take into account that our knowledge is of vital importance to face the climate crisis on this planet. Thus, we declare ourselves in defence of life.

6. We reject the serious threats and intimidation made against the President of the Shuar Arutam People, Josefina Tunki, and members of her board of directors and collaborators. We reject the buying off of weak leaders’ consciences, which leads to the division of our families, communities, and organizations, and which affects our ancestral culture. Likewise, we demand that investigations be continued regarding the involvement of the mining company Solaris and of PDAC 2020 in the spread of COVID-19 in the communities of the Cordillera del Cóndor, after the convention was irresponsibly held in-person in March 2020. Seven members of a Shuar community attended the event without quarantining upon their return. Three of the attendees’ parents died the following month, while the pandemic spread in their communities.

7. Due to the gravity of what has occurred, we request that organizations that protect human rights, including the Inter-American Human Rights System and the United Nations, pay attention to ongoing violations of the rights of Original Peoples and Nations by the State of Ecuador in collaboration with the above-mentioned companies, who impose their extractive projects in our territories without our Peoples’ consultation or consent, even in the context of a health emergency.

[Translated by Valerie Croft and Viviana Herrera]

For more information

  • Josefina Tunki, PSHA +59 3 96 203 2831
  • Tarquino Cajamarca, Lawyer +593 992374459
  • Mario Melo, TIAM Foundation +59 398 504 5713
  • Carlos Mazabanda, Amazon Watch +59 393 941 9559

Coordination:

  • Chinki Nawech, PSHA Communication Director +59 3 98 233 6506

To set up interviews with the PSHA

  • Viviana Herrera, MiningWatch Canada +1 (343) 998-5326