Target: Dr. Galo Chiriboga Zambrano, Attorney General
Goal: Investigate the death of an indigenous community leader and protect community members from further threats
José Isidro Tendetza Antú, a leader in Ecuador’s Yanua kim indigenous community, was recently assassinated. Community leaders believe his death was connected to his opposition to a mining project proposed for community lands, and some community members fear for their own safety. Sign the petition and demand that Ecuadorian authorities protect the Yanua kim and bring José Tendetza’s killers to justice.
Tendetza was a former employee of Ecuacorriente, a Chinese-owned company that was planning to build a mine on the ancestral lands of the Yanua kim, Ecuador’s second-largest indigenous group. After he witnessed the company’s brutality toward people living on the land it wanted, Tendetza left and became an anti-mining activist, fighting for the rights of his community.
Ecuador has approved a number of measures, including Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, that acknowledge the rights of indigenous peoples to their ancestral lands. Ecaucorriente’s proposed Mirador mining project would negatively impact eight communities and more than 170 families, none of which have consented to the project or even been consulted over it. The Yanua kim began the process of legally claiming their ancestral lands in 2012, but Ecaucorriente contends that it has legal rights to the land since it had been assigned them for the Mirador Project.
Tendetza was on his way to speak at a conference in Lima, Peru when he was killed and his body was dumped in a river. An autopsy suggests he died of asphyxiation. He had been the subject of a campaign of intimidation and harassment since 2009, but no one was ever brought to justice for attacks against his person and property. Community members report that they feel threatened by the attitude of the police investigating Tendetza’s death.
Threats and violence are no way to conduct business. Sign the petition and ensure that the Yanua kim community is protected and that José Tendetza’s killers are brought to justice.
Dear Attorney General,
The death of activist José Isidro Tendetza Antú has sparked outrage and fear in the Yanua kim communities of Zamora Chinchipe. I urge you to fully investigate Tendetza’s death, bring his killers to justice, and protect the community he gave his life to serve.
Tendetza, a former employee of Ecuacorriente, was a powerful voice in opposition of the Mirador Project, a mining operation that will affect eight indigenous communities and about 170 families, none of whom had been consulted regarding the project or given their consent to it. The proposed site of the project is on Yanua kim ancestral lands, land that the Yanua have been trying to gain the legal title to since 2012.
With the ratification of Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, Ecuador recognized the right of indigenous peoples to claim ownership of their ancestral lands. It is unacceptable that activists and leaders are threatened and killed over lands their communities have held for centuries. The assassination of José Tendetza is a heinous act that must be investigated fully, fairly, and impartially. I charge you with ensuring that his killers are brought to justice and that his community, which has already suffered so much, is protected from any further violence.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Zscout370 via Wikimedia Commons