First published by Comision Ecumenica de Derechos Humanos on 23 July 2019

Photograph credit: Ecuador’s Minister of Hydrocarbons Carlos Perez (C) talks to the media as copper output begins at the Chinese-owned Mirador mining project in Tundayme, Ecuador July 18, 2019. REUTERS/Daniel Tapia; Credit link: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ecuador-mining/ecuador-begins-large-scale-mining-at-mirador-copper-project-idUSKCN1UD36F

CEDHU rejects the implementation of this extractivistic model that has affected territories with high biodiversity, violating individual and collective rights, and that has exacerbated levels of violence.

The implementation of the Mirador project has led to the dispossession of ancestral territories, pollution, displacement, forced evictions and deaths, causing a serious socio-environmental conflict and criminalizing human rights and nature defenders. In the report prepared by social organizations for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United Nations in November 2018, 32 evictions of families are registered, representing 136 affected people, of which 52 are children and adolescents, 12 elderly people and 58 adults.

The Mirador project is located in Tundayme, Zamora Chinchipe, in the Cordillera del Condor, one of the most diverse and fragile ecosystems in the world, according to studies that would affect 227 water sources. It is the first large-scale copper, silver and gold project to enter the exploitation phase in the country and one of the most conflictive. The intervention in the zone of influence has been violent, with the participation of dozens of police and private security guards from the company Ecuacorriente ECSA.

In the future, in the 30 years of operating life of the mine and that the State has guaranteed its renewal for the same period, there will be the removal of millions of tons of soil, chemical elements and the use of millions of cubic meters of fresh water, which will also be polluted. The cost of large-scale mining for the country will be high, prioritizing an economic gain in the medium term putting at risk the very lives of human beings who in turn depend on mother earth to survive. We are witnessing vast expanses of land in neighboring countries turned into desert by mining.

The Ecumenical Commission on Human Rights – CEDHU rejects the surrender of our natural resources for the benefit of transnational capital and the implementation of this extractive model that has affected territories with high biodiversity, violating individual and collective rights, and has exacerbated levels of violence.

We call on the authorities and government institutions to take into account the voice of the affected communities, populations and people, to respect the right to prior and popular consultation, and not to implement this extractivist model in an arbitrary, violent manner without the legitimacy of the affected sectors.

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