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Colombia & Ecuador: Indigenous Awá fight food shortage and environment destruction provoked by mining and oil exploitation

Awá indigenous archive

“How oil, cocaine and armed conflict threaten the survival of the Awá people”, 08 April 2021

…[T]hroughout history the Indigenous Awá have been forced to flee from their ancestral lands of the Pacific coast of Ecuador and Colombia...For more than a decade, the struggles against oil exploitation have marked the path of the Awá…[I]n 2011, during the process of formalizing the Awá’s rights to the reservation, the Awá managed to prevent the construction of 74 wells for oil extraction. Their concern at the time was that 5,800 hectares of their territory would be ceded to the oil companies and they would once again experience the pain of abandoning their lands. But in 2014, the oil industry's explorations were still ongoing, according to public prior consultation documents from the Ministry of the Interior. Today, in nearby areas, hydrocarbon exploitation continues...The oil interest continues in his community of Awá Tatchan, in the Guamuez Valley…[T]he destruction of the environment caused by these exploitations has led to food shortages and limited hunting…[M]ultinationals invade their land, coming close to the Awá’s farms, and on several occasions rivers and streams have been contaminated by oil spills, which seriously affect the fauna and crops...The Awá people have seen how both the Ecuadorian and Colombian governments "have continued to approve more and more titles for extraction in natural areas inhabited by us". Concerns have increased during the pandemic, with many fearing that the need for economic recovery of both countries will be realized through the acceleration of mining and oil concessions...