Target: Chinese Ministries of Commerce and Environmental Protection
Goal: Stop Chinese oil companies from purchasing a third of Ecuador’s rainforest
The Ecuadorian government plans to auction off more than three million hectares of the Amazonian rainforest to Chinese oil companies. This land amounts to more than one third of Ecuador’s remaining Amazonian rainforest. Multiple meetings between Ecuadorian politicians and representatives from Chinese oil companies in the past months have been met with protests.
Indigenous groups inhabiting the Amazon have not consented to the oil projects – which would devastate Ecuador’s environment and threaten their way of life. In addition, China is violating their recently enacted foreign investment guidelines, which demand Chinese foreign investments consider environmental and social concerns. Regardless of the devastating social and environmental impacts, Ecuadorian and Chinese officials have decided to move forward with negotiations.
Oil exploration in the Ecuadorian rainforest likely violates the recent guidelines announced by the Chinese Ministries of Commerce and Environmental Protection. The guidelines require Chinese companies to “promote harmonious development of local economy, environment and community.” They also instruct companies to consider the impacts of their operations on the social environment such as historical and cultural heritages and customs. For this reason, the Chinese oil companies’ bid to gain drilling rights to such a substantial amount of the Ecuadorian rainforests is unlawful. The oil negotiations also contradict Ecuador’s constitution, which gives legal rights to nature.
China’s interests in Ecuador and Latin America are not limited to oil. Another Chinese company has been granted permission by Ecuador to begin mineral mining in the southeastern section of the Amazon and plans to dig several open-pit mines. These foreign investments in some of the Amazon’s last remaining pristine rainforest not only threaten the environment and human rights, but also break Chinese and Ecuadorian law. International pressure must be made to put an end to the proposed oil deal in the Amazon.
Dear Chinese Ministries of Commerce and Environmental Protection,
Your agencies recently enacted foreign investment guidelines which mandate that Chinese foreign investment actively takes into account environmental and social concerns. These guidelines are being grossly violated in a recent business transaction between the Ecuadorian government and Chinese Oil companies, which plan to drill for oil in one third of Ecuador’s remaining Amazon rainforest. Many indigenous peoples of the area have protested this investment as it will devastate the local environment and the lives of many indigenous communities who depend on that environment.
Chinese legal guidelines state that foreign investment must respect the cultural traditions of local communities and promote the development of the environment and community as well as take into full account the impacts of activities on the social environment. By investing in this oil plan in the Amazon, Chinese companies are breaking Chinese law as well as Ecuadorian law which give legal rights to nature. This petition demands that Chinese companies do not drill in such as large amount of the remaining Amazon rainforest.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr