Taking up those calls, hundreds of women from the Ecuadorian Amazon on Tuesday are marching in the city of Puyo to call for the cancellation of a new oil contract between the government and the Chinese state-owned oil company Andes Petroleum.
The deal includes the territory of both the Sápara Indigenous people and the Kichwa people of Sarayaku, communities that have both condemned the deal. In a collective statement, women from the two tribes declared that they reject the contract “which will affect our territories, the forest, the water, and the air.”
“Women are the main victims [of oil extraction] and their ability to feed their families becomes impaired,” the statement continues. “There is deterioration of family health, and they suffer the division of their communities and other forms of violence.”
The women of the Ecuadorian Amazon have been on the front lines of this and other fights. “In marches, protests, conferences and international forums,” wrote Emily Arasim and Osprey Orielle Lake, with the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network, these women “are standing with fierce love and conviction for the forests and their communities, and navigating a brutal intersection of environmental devastation, cultural dislocation and violence and persecution as women human rights and land defenders.”
International Women’s Day actions, photographs, and expressions of support and solidarity are being shared online under the hashtags #IWD2016 or #bertacaceres.
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