New Court Filing in Cóndor Mirador Tailings Dam Case

Filed on or after 24 April 2019.

SUMMARY

The purpose of this Extraordinary Protection Action is to safeguard the constitutional rights of Nature and the right to motivation, which are being violated as a result of the judgment of the Judge of the Violence against Women and the Family Unit, Unit 4 (the Judgment). This lawsuit presents the arguments that demonstrate the violation of the right to due process due to the lack of motivation of the Judgment, which also allows the violation of the constitutional rights of Nature that occurred as a consequence of the judgment under appeal. The violation occurs because Judgment 1) seriously misrepresented the factual premises of the lawsuit; 2) ignored the guiding principles of environmental constitutional justice; and 3) the normative premises invoked are inconsistent with the decision. Thus, the absence of the relevant constitutional principles and the incoherent correlation between the facts and the sources of law undermines the coherence and rationality of the sentence and leads to a lack of due foundation that is a violation of the right to due process. In addition, this lack of motivation results in the inevitable violation of the constitutional rights of nature. First, we will demonstrate that all constitutional requirements for the filing of this action are met, since the judgment is enforceable and no other remedies are available. Second, we will describe the background that led to the issuance of the Judgment, i.e., the reasons why David Dene filed a request for an autonomous precautionary measure to avoid an irreversible ecological tragedy caused by the imminent failure of tailings dams that are under construction in the well-known Condor-Mirador project by Ecuacorriente S.A. (ECSA). Third,we will explain in detail how violations of the right to due process and of the constitutional rights of Nature occur, that is, how the lack of an adequate motivation of the Sentence will cause (by omission) a serious and irreversible damage in the maintenance and regeneration of the life cycles, structure and functions of the basins. of the Quimi, Tundayme, Zamora and Santiago rivers. The fourthsection describes the reasons for the admissibility of this action. Finally, we present our petition for integral reparation of the violated constitutional rights, which consists mainly of this Court ordering the necessary precautionary measures to prevent this irreversible ecological tragedy.

William Uyuguari Guaman, in my capacity as President of the Comunidad Amazónica de Acción Social Cordillera del Cóndor (CASCOMI), and Pablo Fajardo, lawyer and Ecuadorian citizen, we appear before you in Trial No. 17574201900084, in which autonomous precautionary measures were requested. In the legitimate exercise of the right provided for in articles 94 and 437 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador, we come before you within the term established in article 60 of the Organic Law of Jurisdictional Guarantees and Constitutional Control, and propose the following EXTRAORDINARY ACTION OF PROTECTION (EAP) before the Constitutional Court, against the sentence of March 6, 2019, at 14h41, issued by this Judicial Unit of Violence against Women and the Family. 17574 2019 00084 (hereinafter the Judgment), of which we became aware on 28 April 2019. The action is presented on the basis of the following constitutional grounds:


For further reading, please link here.

Lawyer for Affected by Chevron/Texaco Speaks about the Partnership between UDAPT and The Crowd Versus

Pablo Fajardo Explains UDAPT’s Relationship with The Crowd Versus

English Translation

In the personal words of Pablo Fajardo, attorney for the UDAPT Organization, representing the over 30,000 people affected by the oil pollution left behind in Lago Agree, Ecuador:

When we decided to make this agreement with The Crowd Versus, we did so after researching the work they do. Certainly, there have been many offers from various other platforms that attract resources, but it seems to us that the work of The Crowd Versus is perfectly aligned with that of UDAPT, which is a work that is attached to the social struggle, to the defense of the rights of nature, of human rights, of indigenous peoples, and of access to justice. So The Crowd Versus policy is really fully compatible with the dreams, with the aspirations, with the struggle of UDAPT, and this identifies us fully with the work.

Call to Action:

Do you want to help by either donating (here) or becoming an online activist (here)?

We welcome the opportunity to help you. On our Be The Difference page, after the philosophy of Mohandas Gandhi, we enable your creative ideas and work to be showcased to help this case.

Share your art and inspirations to make the world a better place for all of us!

Link to UDAPT.org website; link to UDAPT’s post here.

Spanish Transcript

Cuando decidimos hacer este acuerdo con The Crowd Versus lo hicimos previa investigación del trabajo que ellos hacen. Por cierto, han existido muchas ofertas de varias otras plataformas que captan recursos, pero nos parece que el trabajo de The Crowd Versus es perfectamente coerente con lo de la UDAPT, que es un trabajo que está pegado a la lucha social, a la defensa de los derechos de la naturaleza, de los derechos humanos, de los pueblos indígenas, y del acceso a la justicia. Entonces la politica de The Crowd Versus es realmente compatible plenamente con los sueños, con la aspiración, con la lucha de la UDAPT, y esto nos identifica plenamente con el trabajo.

META: 5 GREEN IDEAS FOR THE EU IN NEXT 5 YEARS

MARIE-AMÉLIE BRUN, Published JUNE 6, 2019, original article here

Picture credit: Frank Hui, flickr.com

CLIMATE ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE EUROPE PROTECTS FEATURED PODCASTS RULE OF LAW SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

After the European elections, META has great ideas to help new MEPs and potential Commissioners with five green ideas that could blossom in the next five years.

A short synopsis of the options offered:

1. A European Green New Deal

The European Union needs to get the ball rolling on a new environmental action programme – or European ‘Green New Deal’.

2. New European Commission Vice-Presidents for…

The European Commission plays a crucial role in the lawmaking process of the European Union. Various Vice-President positions already exist in the Commission, but the Environment and Climate roles are not yet represented at this level.

3. A Sustainable Development Goals strategy

17 Goals have been developed by the United Nations to achieve a sustainable future for all. These goals, called the ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ – or ‘SDGs’ – target all aspects of sustainability, from poverty to clean oceans.

4. Net zero emissions

At the end of last year the European Commission presented a strategic long-term vision of achieving a climate-neutral economy by 2050. Last month eight EU countries called for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

5. A ‘Paris moment’ for Biodiversity

A study carried out by the world’s top nature scientists and representatives from 132 governments warned us recently that humanity faces a global environmental emergency.

The three-year assessment into the health of our planet’s ecosystems reveals the alarming extent of global biodiversity breakdown with up to one million species set to disappear within a few decades.

Marie-Amélie Brun sums it up in her article: 5 Green Ideas for the EU in the Next Five Years

For further reading: www.meta.eeb.org

Philippines: Groups Condemn the Murder of Dennis Sequeña; Senator Hontiveros Calls for Investigation

Published by Business & Human Rights Resource Center, 5 June 2019

With sadness and our sincere condolences for his family, friends, colleagues, and fellow activists, we share the following news from the Philippines.

Dennis Sequeña at a rally

“The shooting of Dennis Sequeña, while he was conducting a labor rights seminar, is a particular blatant act of violence against workers exercising their freedom of association. This should not be happening ten years after the ILO HLM,” according to René Magtubo, the National Chair of the Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) labor political party, insisted. 

Dennis Sequeña, labor organizer and human rights defender, political activist, was a National Council member of PM and the Vice Chair of its provincial chapter in Cavite.

What makes this even more poignant, is that Dennis Sequeña is the second PM labor party member killed since 2016. Back in September 2016, Orlando Abangan, PM-Cebu leader and informal worker organizer of the labor center Sentro, was shot and killed.

The day following the murder of Dennis Sequeña, 3 June 2019, Senator Hontiveros-Baraquel filed a resolution for the Senate to investigate the killings of labor activists in the Philippines, in order to properly legislate the unresolved labor issues there. Link to Facebook page of Senator Hontiveros.

For further reading.

Additional Affidavits Filed in Application to Review Tendele Mine in South Africa

Friday 31 May 2019 was an important day for the case supported by The Crowd vs. Destructive Mining in Zululand. Attorney Kirsten Youens, and second Applicant and Treasurer of the community organization, MCEJO (the first Applicant), Sabelo Dladla, filed supplementary founding affidavits in the application to review and set aside at 222 square km mining right for open cast coal. 

Call to Action:

Kirsten Youens shares special moments with you, while working on the case. Do you want to know more about it, or support her legal battle?

Check out her case page on our website, here.

Ms. Kirsten Youens, attorney, and MCEJO representative, Mr. Sabelo Dladla

#lawyerinthepicture #lawapplies2all #coalkills #biodiversity #wildlife #rhino #SouthAfrica #behindthescenes #stopcoalmining #climateaction #humanrights #environmentalrights #law #big5 #nature #iMfolozi #saveouriMfolozi #coalmining

Glyphosate Herbicides Now Banned or Restricted in 17 Countries Worldwide – Sustainable Pulse Research

Posted on  May 28 2019 – 4:00pm  by  Sustainable Pulse, original article here

Following the recent bans on the use of glyphosate-based herbicides by cities and institutions in the U.S., including Key West, Los Angeles, the University of California and Miami, Sustainable Pulse decided to research which countries around the world have banned or restricted the use of the world’s most used herbicide.

This research has led to the discovery that there is a growing swell of government level support worldwide for bans on glyphosate-based herbicides for both health and environmental reasons.

17 countries have now banned or restricted the use of this carcinogenic herbicide.

Previous research by Sustainable Pulse on the number of countries that have banned GM Crops has reached millions of people and we look forward to our latest research reaching an even wider audience. Sustainable Pulse welcomes additions or edits to the list below from readers and experts from around the Globe.

Africa:

Malawi: Malawi’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development announced the suspension of import permits for glyphosate in April 2019.

Asia:

Vietnam: Vietnam announced that it banned the import of all glyphosate-based herbicides with in March 2019 following a cancer trial verdict from San Francisco

Sri Lanka: In 2015 a full import ban on all glyphosate-based herbicides was put in place by the then newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena. This ban was partly lifted in July 2018 but only for use on tea and rubber plantations.

Six Middle Eastern countries banned the import and use of glyphosate-based herbicides in coordination with each other in 2015 and 2016:

  • Oman
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Kuwait
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Bahrain
  • Qatar

Central America:

Bermuda: Bermuda’s Environment Minister Cole Simons confirmed the ban on glyphosate-based herbicides at a public meeting in January 2017.

St Vincent and the Grenadines: In August 2018 Agriculture Minister Saboto Caesar called on all stakeholders to be understanding of the new suspension on glyphosate-based herbicides “in light of the nation’s quest to promote a safe working environment and good agricultural health and food safety practices.”

Europe:

Belgium: In October 2018 the ban on the sale of broad-spectrum herbicides (including glyphosate) to non-professional users entered in to force across Belgium.

Czech Republic: In 2018 the Czech Republic put strict restrictions on the use of glyphosate and banned pre-harvest spraying; “These substances (glyphosate-based herbicides) will only be employed in cases when no other efficient method can be used,” Agriculture Minister Miroslav Toman said.

Denmark: In July 2018, the Danish government implemented new rules banning the use of glyphosate on all post-emergent crops to avoid residues on foods.

France: In 2017 France banned the use of glyphosate and all other pesticides in public green spaces. In November 2018 President Macron said he would take all measures necessary to ensure that glyphosate-based herbicides are banned in France as soon as an alternative is available and at the latest within three years. However, he has since stated that this deadline may only be 80% met.

Italy: In August 2016 Italy’s Ministry of Health banned the use of glyphosate in public areas and also as a pre-harvest spray.

The Netherlands: From the end of 2015 the sale of glyphosate-based herbicides has been banned to all non-business entities.

Call to Action:

Want to help keep Mexico’s ban on corn (maize) in place? You can make a difference, by adding your voice to Be the Difference or, just as important, donating so that the nonprofit organization Alternativas can continue its legal battles against GMO in Mexico.

Tarsands vs. treaty

A just transition case study

by Susan Smitten  published by www.briarpatchmagazine.com  Apr 29, 2019   4 min read

In 2008, Beaver Lake Cree Nation (BLCN) filed a legal action against the governments of Canada and Alberta over the constitutional standing of numerous projects, including tarsands development – one of the world’s largest and most carbon-intensive energy developments. The high-stakes action represents a precedent in the Canadian court system. The Beaver Lake Cree case will be the first time the court is asked to delineate what counts as too much industrial development in the face of constitutionally protected treaty rights.

The conflict is between the promise in Treaty 6, which was signed in 1876 between the imperial Crown and First Nations. The treaty guarantees and affirms BLCN’s inherent right to hunt, trap, fish, and gather in perpetuity throughout their traditional territory and beyond, and the government’s allowable use of lands.

It took five years of battling just to get the case to go to trial. Having welcomed a veritable cavalcade of tarsands projects over the last couple of decades, Alberta and Canada have fought this legal action every step of the way. The two governments applied for a motion to dismiss the case, calling it “frivolous, improper and an abuse of process.” But the courts disagreed – both the Court of Queen’s Bench and at the appeals level – and said no further “delaying tactics” should be permitted.

The key issue is now going forward to trial: because of Crown authorizations, swaths of Beaver Lake Cree’s traditional territory no longer support the Nation’s way of life. Habitats have been fragmented and lands and waters have been degraded in ways that impede the Beaver Lake Cree’s meaningful exercise of treaty rights.

“Beaver Lake’s case raises pressing issues of fundamental importance to the Treaty relationship and reconciliation, but not yet considered by the courts: to what extent does Treaty 6 protect a meaningful way of life, and to what extent is the Crown obligated to consider cumulative effects on the meaningful practice of that way of life when it authorizes development?” noted Karey Brooks, legal counsel for the Beaver Lake Cree, in a press release last November.

The Nation can no longer ignore the impact to their land and way of life. As I explain on raventrust.com, “Canada and Alberta have issued more than 19,000 individual authorizations (permits), which have translated into 300 individual industrial projects that take up more than 90 per cent of Beaver Lake Cree traditional territory. As a result, the once-pristine forest and hunting grounds are now covered with over 35,000 oil and gas sites, 21,700 kilometres of seismic lines, 4,028 kilometres of pipeline, and 948 kilometres of road – with devastating effects on wildlife populations like the woodland caribou and fish species.”

“Alberta and Canada argue that they are doing their diligence in their due process to consult with First Nations. What the Beaver Lake Cree Nation seeks is not an arbitrary process, but rather consent as affirmed in the UNDRIP Article 19,” explains Crystal Lameman, treaty coordinator for the Beaver Lake Cree.

“What the Beaver Lake Cree Nation seeks is not an arbitrary process, but rather consent as affirmed in the UNDRIP Article 19.”

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) mandates that “States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.”

“Yet Alberta is asking for an exemption of in-situ projects from federal regulation, and that downstream emissions from the burning of fossil fuels be excluded from the regulatory review process, on the grounds that they already are subject to an onerous environmental review process of in-situ oilsands development through the Alberta Climate Leadership Plan (ACLP),” says Lameman. “What Alberta fails to mention is that the ACLP does not provide for protection of Treaty rights, omits cumulative effects and does not consider emissions from the combustion of Alberta oil outside of the province’s borders, [like] downstream emissions.”

Photo courtesy of RAVEN Trust

On the supply side, the ACLP still allows emissions from the production of the tarsands to increase 47.5 per cent above 2014 levels. And Canada’s and Alberta’s carbon emissions calculations focus only on domestic carbon pollution. Neither the Alberta emissions cap nor the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change account for the emissions caused by burning exported Canadian fossil fuels – mainly Alberta oil.

“Emissions play a role in the cumulative effects of climate change and environmental impacts, therefore impacts to treaty rights. Thus, First Nations should be involved in decision-making, but we are not – and this is what we seek,” adds Lameman.

“Where 80 per cent of all future oilsands growth will be from in-situ development, Canada’s largest industrial project cannot be dismissed from any environmental assessment. The majority of in-situ oilsands development in Alberta is in Treaty 6 (west) territory and that of the territory of the Beaver Lake Cree,” Lameman continues.

After spending five years in the court system defending their right to even bring this case forward, the Beaver Lake Cree have recently asked the court to order Canada and Alberta to pay a portion of Beaver Lake Cree’s trial costs in advance. This is the same mechanism that made it possible for the Tsilhqot’in to sustain nearly two decades of litigation and to win their historic title case. A hearing on the Advance Costs Order was held in February in Edmonton. Now the Beaver Lake Cree are awaiting the judge’s ruling.

We’re inviting Canadians to donate to the case at www.tarsandstrial.com. Helping to fund the case would allow the Beaver Lake Cree to use their scarce resources to benefit the community. It would be an injustice if lack of funds created an impenetrable barrier to the judicial recognition of Beaver Lake’s rights.

Susan Smitten is the executive director of RAVEN (Respecting Aboriginal Values & Environmental Needs), a Victoria-based non-profit charitable organization that provides financial resources to assist Aboriginal Nations within Canada in enforcing their rights and title to protect their traditional territories and the environment.

Tribute to a Humble man of Courage

“Justice should be done! All our hopes and dreams should come true with regard to this court case.”  Gideon Mbongeni Gumede

First published at SaveOurWilderness.org, 21 May 2019, here

On Thursday, 16 May 2019, in the early hours of the morning just before dawn, Mr Gideon Mbongeni Gumede breathed his last. His extended illness, involving pain in his lungs and difficulty breathing was undiagnosed and became increasingly debilitating. He had become critically ill over the weekend and was admitted to Hlabisa Hospital where he died after a few days. His death has cast a dark shadow over Somkhele.

Gideon, as he was known in the community, was loved by many. He was a humble man, respectful and soft spoken; not someone who would immediately be recognised as a brave warrior. Yet a warrior he was and he will be remembered as a hero and a role model of how to stand your ground fearlessly, even in the face of life-threatening situations. 

Gideon emerged as a man of courage when Tendele mine expanded into KwaQubuka and identified the Gumede homestead within the mining area granted for their operations. Gideon was told to relocate.

There was no opportunity or right to say no and, as is typical, the mine offered minimal compensation to the family for their houses and built infrastructure, not their land. Tendele also provided no alternative land to move to.

Gideon not only rejected the mine’s offer but he also refused to move, even when the mine started its operations within 300 metres of his home. All the buildings on the property are cracked and several have collapsed from the blasting. It became dangerous to continue living there for fear of flyrock and of the houses collapsing on the people living in them, as has happened to other families in Somkhele.

When the rest of the destitute Gumede family moved off their land, Gideon was left on his own to stand up against ongoing pressure to relocate. Several letters were written by Richard Spoor Attorneys, urging the DMR to step in and assist Mr Gumede.

But to no avail. The mine persisted in its quest to move him of his land, even when he became seriously ill only two weeks ago. Yet through it all, Gideon remained resolute. He was not going to allow leave the Gumede land and leave behind what was rightfully and morally due to him. He stayed on his land in spite of the increased stress he was living under, his inability to grow crops and graze cattle to feed his family and his failing health.

It is very sad that Gideon will not live to see or enjoy the benefits of his determination and courage, unlike Gideon in the Bible, a devout man called by God to become a military leader, judge and prophet, and to fight a courageous battle that resulted in an extraordinary victory. Similarly, the battle in Somkhele and other mining affected communities in South Africa will continue fighting after Gideon’s death until we emerge victorious. We are sorry that the wheels of justice turned too slowly for Mr Gumede and his hopes and dreams for the court case will not be seen by him. In some instances the wheels of justice did not turn at all for our dear comrade. 

At this time we also remember other comrades and activists like Mr Gednezar Dladla, Dumesile Mwelasi, Scorpion, and “Bazooka” Sikhosiphi Rhadebe who have given their lives to this struggle. 

Gideon’s funeral will be held on the 26th May 2019, at KwaQubuka. His death is a great loss to the Somkhele community as whole, as well as to the Global Environmental Trust (GET), the Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation (MCEJO), Mpukunyoni Community Property Association (MCPA), groundWork and other NGOs who engaged with him over the years. He will be profoundly missed by everyone whose life he touched, including other communities affected by mining.

May he rest in peace at last, free from pain and torment.

2019 AntiChevron Day Action All Over the World

May 21 of every year has been designated as the day the UDAPT people protest, en masse, and in as many countries as possible, to create additional awareness for their plight. This year was no different.

Below a smattering of photographs, plus a link to UDAPT Flickr website location, here, for you to enjoy and see how many people, besides yourself, supports this worthwhile and long-term action for justice in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Please use #2019AntiChevronDay #StopChevronImpunity @UDAPT @TheCrowdVersus so we can amplify your social media shares!

Desde el Taller sobre Tratados de Libre comercio organizado por ISP y plataforma América latina mejor sin TLC reunidos en Montevideo decimos presente en día #AntiChevron
Embajada de Ecuador en Bruselas, Bélgica, 21 May 2019
Team Walt Disney
UDAPT Amazonía Ecuatoriana; Pablo Fajardo
In the Netherlands we hand over the letter with Fossielvrij NL and extinction Rebellion
Entregada de la carta al presidente en la Mission de Ecuador en Ginebra; 21 May 2019
Barcelona Anti-Chevron Day 2019
Desde la Amazonía Ecuatoriana UDAPT
Bicicletada por la Amazonía Ecuador/Colombia 2019 Anti-Chevron
NOAH Friends of the Earth Denmark; Anti-Chevron Day 2019
Germany. Alemania Copyright: Mike Schmidt / Greenpeace.
EEUU/US action in Boston ! 21 May 2019 Anti-Chevron solidarity
Patagonia 21 May 2019 Anti-Chevron Day
In front of the Embassy of Ecuador and Berlin, Germany: We wave off the #ISDS arbitrators – Human Rights are winning
Richmond California -Credits: Rainforest Action Network
Richmond California -Credits: Rainforest Action Network
Solidaridad desde Madrid, en el Día de Acción Global #Anti-Chevron
Desde Bilbao se realizó la entrega de la carta a los representantes del Gobierno de Ecuador
Asamblea Permanente del Comahue por el Agua de Allen, Río Negro, Argentina
Solidarity action #AntiChevron Day from Sabir, Lecce, Italy
Friends of the Earth International, Latin America and Caribbean

Students of the Arts HKU Explain on Anti-Chevron Day: Oil in Your Food, Water and Lands Was and Will Never Be Normal

Between 1964 and 1990 oil giant Chevron (formerly Texaco) contributed to one of the biggest environmental disasters in the history. A gigantic oil spill contaminated an area of 4,800 square kilometres of the Amazonian rainforest in Ecuador. It destroyed the lands of 30,000 indigenous people and farmers, and the biodiversity in the area. For over 25 years now, they fight a difficult legal battle against Chevron to achieve justice.

25-Year Fight for Legal Justice

In 1993 the 30,000 peasants and indigenous people joined forces in UDAPT (Spanish Acronym of ‘la Unión de Afectados y Afectadas por las Operaciones Petroleras de Texaco’). This organization started litigation to have Chevron (formerly Texaco) pay to create health programs for the affected peoples and to restore the lands and water. The Ecuador National Court ordered Chevron to pay 9.5 billion dollars, but they refused. Instead, Chevron left with all its assets. That is why the plaintiffs have to go abroad to achieve justice, where the legal road is long and exhausting. 

Art Students Take Action 

Students from the University of the Arts Utrecht took action. They made a short film to create awareness of the situation. To help people to relate to the situation in Ecuador, they show an average European family living in an oil contaminated home and neighborhood.

One of the students, Thomas Paschenegger said: “We are honored to contribute to this important legal battle for environmental and social justice in Ecuador. It would be fantastic if the film creates more awareness and support of the situation of the UDAPT people, and informs people about the crimes committed by Chevron.”

Creating Awareness

The assignment of this film came from The Crowd Versus. The Crowd Versus is supporting the case of UDAPT against Chevron since 2014.

According to Marco Witschge, platform co-lead: “We are constantly looking for new ways to create awareness and donations for this case. The students of the HKU did a fantastic job. This case is not only of great importance for the people in Ecuador, but also for the world. It will better protect our human rights and the rights of nature, and it shows irresponsible corporations that the law applies to all.” 

Want to help? Our Call To Action:

  1. Whatever you like to do, photography, vlog, draw a great cartoon, or cook to create your own fundraising event, know that we would love to enlarge the footprint of your message. You can do more for the indigenous people and farmers of Ecuador by posting your own content and picking the Chevron v. Ecuador case to support with your (artistic) work here.
  2. Donate here to make a difference.

Together we create more awareness for their cause and funding, a win-win situation for both you and the UDAPT nonprofit.

The Crowd Versus Chevron Oil Spill