The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Ada Recinos,

Inter-American Court of Human Rights Takes Case on Ecuadorian Amazon's Last Indigenous Peoples in Voluntary Isolation

The hearing will begin August 23, 2022 regarding rights violations by the Ecuadorian government against the Tagaeri-Taromenane Indigenous Peoples living within Yasuní Park


On August 23, 2022, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights will hold a public hearing on case No. 12.979: Tagaeri-Taromenane Indigenous Peoples vs. Ecuador, under its 150th regular session.

This case began in 2006 at the request of several Indigenous and civil society organizations and led by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) and YASunidos.

The case alleges that the Ecuadorian government is responsible for a series of systematic rights violations against the Tagaeri and Taromenane Indigenous peoples. These communities living in voluntary isolation have been adversely affected by the implementation of oil projects that put pressure on and reduce their ancestral territory, destroy their natural resources, and ultimately alter their way of life. Among the facts that will be presented during the case against the Ecuadorian government will be the violent deaths of Tagaeri and Taromenane members in 2003 and 2006, including the massacre of 2013.

The Tagaeri and Taromenane inhabit the Yasuni region, located between the Provinces of Pastaza and Orellana in the Ecuadorian Amazon, which is considered one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. Despite the fact that the Ecuadorian Constitution recognizes isolated peoples' right to their territory and prohibits any extractive activity on their land, the Ecuadorian government has not respected this right. This region has been permanently threatened by oil extraction and out-of-control logging. The Tagaeri and Taromenane are peoples who completely depend on the forest to live.

"The government cannot continue selling our territory and our rights to the oil companies. Our forest, shared with the Tagaeri and Taromenane, is our supermarket, hospital, pharmacy, hardware store, and school; it is also our cemetery, our home. If they continue destroying it with their roads, wells, chainsaws, and oil flares, they will kill us, too. The rainforest is our life, our home, and our ancestral land. It is the hope of future generations," affirms Alicia Cahuiya, Waorani, CONAIE leader and a lead witness in the case.

Case data:

On October 5, 2020, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) submitted the case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to examine the responsibility of the Ecuadorian government. This decision was based on Ecuador's refusal to implement the recommendations established in the IACHR merits report No. 152/19 regarding the reparation measures that the government should adopt to restore the violated rights of the isolated peoples.

In that report, the Inter-American Commission also concluded that:

The ancestral territory of these peoples exceeds the limits of the Tagaeri and Taromenane Intangible "No-go" Zone (ZITT) established by the government; that the legal category of the "no-go" zone does not meet the conditions needed to establish a freehold land title for isolated peoples; and that the government was not acting in good faith to secure and protect the ancestral property of isolated peoples but instead favored the promotion of initiatives to use their ancestral territories for economic purposes through resource extraction. Therefore, Ecuador would be responsible for the violation of the rights to life, integrity, legal protection, collective property, right to move freely within their territory, the rights of children, and the social rights of peoples in isolation as recognized in several articles of the American Convention.

This hearing will include the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which took the case to the Court; the representatives of the petitioners (CONAIE and YASunidos) advocating for the isolated peoples; the legal representative of a recently contacted Tagaeri-Taromenane girl living with the Waorani, and the Ecuadorian government. Likewise, experts and witnesses presented by the parties will participate.

The hearing will be broadcast live on the social networks of the Inter-American Court on August 23, 2022, starting at 06:30 am Ecuador time in Spanish:

Amazon Watch is a nonprofit organization founded in 1996 to protect the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin. We partner with indigenous and environmental organizations in campaigns for human rights, corporate accountability and the preservation of the Amazon's ecological systems.