(Sucúa, Ecuador) Josefina Tunki, president of the Shuar Arutam People (PSHA), of the Ecuadorian Amazon, today released a video regarding the complaint she has filed against Solaris Resources’ Vice-president of Operations Federico Velásquez. She alleges receiving a death threat by telephone from Velásquez.
In a video posted yesterday, March 8, International Women's Day, the Shuar Arutam People underscored the Shuar women's rejection of large-scale mining projects and supported President Josefina Tunki’s denouncement of threats against her. “I have been directly targeted with threats from Federico Velásquez, manager of Solaris, a company based in Warints,” Josefina declared at a February 28 press conference at the Interprovincial Federation of Shuar Centres.
Fifty-six per cent of the territory of the Shuar Arutam People (PSHA), located in the Cordillera del Cóndor in Ecuador’s Morona Santiago Province, has been concessioned to large-scale mining, oil, and hydroelectric projects without consultation. The Shuar Arutam People, guardian of 232,533 hectares of tropical rainforest, have voiced on multiple occasions their opposition to large-scale mining projects, as they generate conflict and uncertainty in their territory.
For this reason, on January 29, 2021, the PSHA and the Public Services International (PSI), a global federation of unions that brings together more than 700 unions in 154 countries, filed a complaint with the International Labour Organization (ILO) against the Ecuadorian State for violation of Convention 169. While the complaint to the ILO was being prepared, President Josefina Tunki received a death threat via telephone, allegedly from the manager of Canadian mining company Solaris Resources.
According to Tunki, the purpose of this threat is to intimidate PSHA and pressure them not to bring their case before the ILO. According to Josefina, the threatening words were "If they continue to bother me with national and international complaints, we will have to take off one of their heads.” Despite this, she remains firm in her leadership position: “I am the first woman leading the PSHA government. Solaris and Federico Velásquez will be held directly responsible If there is an accident," Tunki warned.
Faced with this situation, Josefina Tunki filed a complaint with the Sucúa Criminal Prosecutor's Office against Solaris and its manager Federico Velasquez for threats and intimidation.
Solaris Resources continues to carry out exploration activities in the Shuar territory for the development of the Warintza mining project, which puts at risk the water systems of the Shuar territory and will affect several of the communities represented by PSHA. Despite the strong rejection of large-scale mining by the Shuar Arutam People, Solaris recently announced that it would double its drilling program in Shuar territory.
For more information
- Josefina Tunki, PSHA +59 3 96 203 2831
- Tarquino Cajamarca, Abogado +593 992374459
- Mario Melo, TIAM +59 398 504 5713
- Carlos Mazabanda, Amazon Watch +59 393 941 9559
- 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