SINANGOE, Ecuador (Reuters) – Armed with spears, their faces painted, members of the A’i Cofan community’s indigenous guard prepare to patrol the banks of the Aguarico River in Ecuador’s Amazon, ready to confiscate equipment and call in the police if they find miners on their ancestral land.
“We go down (the river) and document all the people who have entered,” guard coordinator Nixon Andy, 24, said. “When we come across strangers on our territory we speak peacefully, but if there isn’t respect there are authorities to whom we can report.”
The guard’s work is backed by the Constitutional Court, which in February ruled indigenous communities have the right to give prior consent to major extractive projects which take place in their territories or which could affect their way of life. They can veto both major mining and oil projects and small-scale informal production.
Legal success for the Cofan and challenges from other communities are undermining the investment ambitions of President Guillermo Lasso, who wants to attract foreign capital to mining projects.
For the rest of this article: https://www.thestar.com.my/news/world/2022/04/01/with-court039s-backing-ecuador039s-indigenous-block-amazon-mining