Violent eviction of ancestral villages in Ecuador’s mangrove ecosystem
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December 16, 2012
TO: Mr Xavier Ponce, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Aquaculture and Fisheries, Ecuador
16 December 2012 Honorable Minister,
RE: Violent eviction of ancestral villages in Ecuador’s mangrove ecosystem We, at Mangrove Action Project are deeply shocked and troubled by the news concerning the violent eviction of local ancestral resource users from the mangrove ecosystem in Bilsa village, Muisne, Esmeralda province. The high-handed police action of burning the villagers’ homes and their assets, even without allowing them time to take away their personal belongings, and destroying their livelihoods and community projects, such as small scale farming and crab harvesting, is highly questionable and reprehensible. There was no mercy even for children and elderly people, confirming that it was planned with a cruel intent. This action amounts to unwarranted violation of the human dignity and rights of the people concerned. It is an action in violation of the Constitution of Ecuador and international human rights treaties.
These communities do not represent a threat to the mangrove ecosystem but are rather stewards and guardians of this vital ecosystem, as their economic activities are in line with sustainable use and conservation, and their presence prevents external destructive activities (such as industrial shrimp farming) from entering the ecosystem. They should be supported and encouraged instead of humiliated and evicted.
We express our solidarity with the affected people of Bilsa and we urge you to use your position to investigate the action of the police and those responsible for planning this vile action and bring them to justice. The human rights and dignity of the Bilsa community must be respected and restored as soon as possible.
We would also like to take this opportunity to request information about other evictions of mangrove-dependent local communities that have recently taken place in Guabo, El Oro Province; in Verdum, Manabi Province; and in Pechiche, Montanita, Santa Elena Province.
Looking forward to receiving a response from you.
Thank you for your attention.
For the Mangroves And the Mangrove Communities!
Mangrove Action Project
cc: Mr Rafael Correa Delgado, President of Ecuador firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Fernando Cordero, President of the National Assembly of Ecuador: email@example.com
Mr Linder Altafuya, Assemblyman for the Esmeralda Province: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Hugo Oliva, UnderSecretary of Land: email@example.com
asistente del ministro de agricultura: firstname.lastname@example.org