Defending indigenous rights to land, life and cultural survival in the Amazon rainforest.
Coronavirus has reached indigenous rainforest territories in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Indigenous populations are extremely vulnerable to disease due to persistent inequality, exclusion and discrimination in general access to public services, as well as their geographic isolation. New cases are reported daily, and indigenous elders, guardians of thousands of years of ancestral knowledge about the Amazon rainforest and how to protect it, are dying with COVID symptoms.
Hundreds of indigenous communities that relied on these rivers for food and fresh water are facing food scarcity, and COVID-19 national lockdown has cut off options for outside provisions. Parents are reporting the appearance of skin rashes and irritation on their children who must bathe in contaminated water. Sadly, the government’s response has been woefully inadequate and lacking transparency.
Amazon Frontlines is working with indigenous organizations to provide humanitarian aid to indigenous communities affected by both the COVID-19 crisis and the oil spill. Alongside the Ecuadorian Alliance for Human Rights, Ecuadorian Amazon’s regional indigenous organization CONFENIAE, regional Kichwa peoples’ indigenous federation FCUNAE, and several affected indigenous families, we have also filed a lawsuit demanding the government and oil companies carry out urgent environmental remediation, provide relief for affected peoples, and repair or relocate the pipelines to avoid future spills.