Support Against ISDS Decision in Chevron v. Ecuador Case

28 November 2018

Several declarations and letters have been addressed to the President of the Republic, Lenín Moreno and the State Attorney, Íñigo Salvador.

The letters consisted of the following:

The signatories of these letters concur in asking the Ecuadorian authorities to be guarantors of Human Rights. They ask the Ecuador government leaders to reject the application of the decision of the arbitration tribunal.

On the contrary, there remains a risk that the power of the oil company will force Ecuador, through coercive mechanisms, to discard the judgments, setting a serious precedent against the sovereignty of the State.

What can you do?

Just as in other posts, you can have your voice join others who believe #HumanRights trump #CorporatePrivileges and spread awareness through your friends and family, through posting this onto social media channels which in turn will inspire other, like-minded folks. You can start here with a number of options.

UDAPT Tells Story of Battle for Justice on New Website

UDAPT Tells Story of Battle for Justice on New Website

One of the biggest oil spills in the history of our planet happened in the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador, contaminating an area of almost 5 000 square km. They seek justice in, what is called in legalese, “reparations.”

The word reparations mean money. They need this money not to enrich themselves, but to build health care facilities and programs for their people. And their lands with contaminated oil pits need to be further cleaned up, a monumental challenge and task.

The affected communities and peasants have united themselves in the UDAPT organization. For 25 years they have been seeking this type of justice for their peoples through the courts.

UDAPT needs as much help as possible, especially social media attention and money for their worthy cause.

That’s why they developed a new website. On the new UDAPT website you can read about the people involved, the effects on the communities, the programs they have developed so far, and the long legal battle for justice.

How You Can Help Online

Read more about the case on the case page. Or on social media. Check out UDAPT on Twitter, and The Facebook of UDAPT.  Likes and re-posts are very much appreciated.

Frequently Used Hashtags (#):

If you want to share the message of UDAPT, please use the following hashtags:

#UDAPT #LifeWithoutContamination #StopCorporateImpunity #StopChevronImpunity #LaLuchaContinua #ChevronCulpable #ChevronCleanUp #ChevronToxico #tratadovinculante

If you use these, we can find your help, like and/or re-post it!

Why do you want to share or donate?

This Case Is About Human Environmental Rights for All of Us

This case also deals with human rights versus corporate interests. It is about corporations learning to conduct social enterprise: the cost of doing business in larger terms of just taking from the earth and changing it into money.

The facts of this case: in the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador, the oil company Chevron-Texaco left a contaminated mess behind the size of 1 850 square miles (4 800 sq.km). From 1964 – 1990, Chevron-Texaco used inadequate and obsolete oil extraction methods, and ended up dumping toxic waste and crude oil into pits in the jungle.

When they left the area, the local communities stayed behind with contaminated water and oil pits. Nobody in the communities knew the oil would be so bad for their health. Children played in the waters, not knowing the effects long-term. This led to much higher disease rates and even deaths in their communities.

United in UDAPT

Six indigenous nationalities and 80 peasant communities, who had lived and live in these contaminated areas, began the nonprofit organization called UDAPT (Union of People Affected by Texaco). In 1993, UDAPT started the first case against Chevron (then Texaco) for the damage in the provinces of Sucumbíos and Orellana.

The goal was to make Chevron repair the contaminated Northern Ecuadorian Amazon — the lungs of our earth — and provide health care for the people.

Chevron Refuses to Pay

In 2013, the National Court of Justice of Ecuador ordered the multinational Chevron Corporation to pay US $ 9.5 billion in order to build health care programs and restore contaminated areas.

When the case started, Chevron had promised to submit to the judgments of the Ecuadorian courts. In the end, the oil giant refused to pay for the damages.

Since then, the UDAPT-plaintiffs have had to seek enforcement of this Ecuadorian verdict in other countries, where the oil company does have assets (funding to provide healthcare and repair the damages).

Finally this year, their case has landed before the Supreme Court of Canada to seek justice, after a long struggle of appeals and arguments. The case has now achieved the status of a landmark case because of the legal issues it claims and encompasses.

It now functions as an example for other, similar cases about human environmental rights, after 25 years of litigation.

Thank you for helping, wherever, whenever.

18 October UDAPT Marches in Geneva, Switzerland

UDAPT Marches in Geneva in Support of Climate Alliance

18 October 2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D345rsuUvSE&feature=youtu.be

YouTube film by Klima-Allianz Schweiz, 18 October 2018

The UDAPT, the Ecuadorian organization that represents over 30,000 peoples, 6 indigenous tribes, and peasants who are negatively affected, to this day, by the polluted messes left behind by Chevron-Texaco in their Amazonian backyard, participated in a march held in Geneva, by the Climate Alliance Switzerland.

The battle against climate change cannot be won without social justice.

 

Show your support by sharing widely, please and thank you!

 

Ecuador Case Debate Invitation on 25 October 2018

DEBATE INVITATION AT INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF SOCIAL STUDIES, The Hague, Netherlands

 

By Letty Fajardo Vera; submitted 17 October 2018

ENTITLED: Justice for Whom in Recent Chevron-Ecuador Decision by Hague Permanent Court of Arbitration?

On Thursday 25th October from 17:00 – 19:00 hours

At The Institute of Social Studies, Kortenaerkade 12, 2518 AX Den Haag

 

Four Ecuadorian Courts have condemned Chevron for its responsibility for oil pollution in the Amazon, including the Ecuadorean Constitutional Court in July 2018 in a landmark case for environmental justice.

However on August 30 2018, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague under the “investment state dispute settlement mechanism” ordered the State of Ecuador not to enforce its judgment against Chevron.

Instead, the Hague Court imposed a penalty on Ecuador. This decision infringes not only the human rights of the victims, but also heavily affects the sovereignty of the Ecuadorian State and the status of its Constitution.

This event highlights the nature and impact of environmental crimes perpetrated by Chevron on the Amazon’s indigenous peoples in Ecuador. It also examines the dynamics and functioning of national and international legal instruments on crimes by transnational corporations. In particular, it focuses on the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, a key international site of international investor-state arbitration.

How does it operate?

Who are the judges?

How are its judgments reached?

Why are trade and investment agreements prioritized over national, regional and international human rights laws?

Is this what “The Hague the City of Justice” is all about?

What can we do about this?

 

Speakers:

Ms. Roeline Knottnerus, SOMO-TNI. Trade & Investment Policy Advisor. She will focus on why the rights of investors appear to override all other legislation and whether we can reset this imbalance through a Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights.

Mr. Justino Piaguaje, Leader of the Siekopai Indigenous  People and Member of the Executive Board of the UDAPT (Union of the Affected People by Chevron-Texaco).

Mr. Pablo Fajardo Mendoza, Lead Lawyer for the UDAPT (Union of the Affected People by Chevron-Texaco) on the Chevron Case. He will explain how International Arbitration Tribunals are a danger to the sovereignty of the peoples.

 

Schedule of the event: 17:00- 19:00 pm

Welcome to ISS: Teyo van der Schoot, Human Rights Senior Advisor (3 minutes)

Moderator:  Siobhán Airey, Research Fellow, University College Dublin & TNI

Translator: Anna Berti Suman, Environmental & Health Law Researcher, Tilburg Law School.

Section 1 – Ms. Roeline Knottnerus, SOMO-TNI. (10-15 minutes)

Mr. Pablo Fajardo Mendoza, Lead Lawyer UDAPT. (10-15 minutes)

Mr. Justino Piaguaje, Leader of the Siekopai Indigenous people. (10-15 minutes)

We strive to make this part a dynamic discussion that sees active participation from both panelists and audience regarding the discussed topics.

Section 2 – Questions and answers

Section 3 – Wrap-up, Letty Fajardo Vera (2- minutes)

 

Organized by: @UDAPT @iss.nl @StopCorporateImpunity

 

ARBITRAL AWARD IS INAPPLICABLE TO ECUADORIAN PLAINTIFFS

ARBITRAL AWARD IS INAPPLICABLE TO ECUADORIAN PLAINTIFFS

Lago Agrio, September 10, 2018.- Once the arbitration award regarding the lawsuit that the oil company Chevron pursued against the Ecuadorian State – known as Chevron III – has been made public, members of the UDAPT stated that it is not the first time this Arbitral Tribunal issues rulings that cannot be complied with, in an attempt to stop the trial against Chevron. The Ecuadorian Courts have already ruled in this regard, stating that the highest duty of the State is to guarantee the effective enforcement of the human rights recognized in the Constitution and in international treaties, a duty that goes beyond international trade obligations. For this reason, the new ruling is inapplicable to the Ecuadorian plaintiffs.

Pablo Fajardo, the lawyer for Ecuadorian indigenous people and settlers who won the private trial against the oil company, explained that an arbitral tribunal cannot force a State to violate its constitutional norms, disrespect the separation of powers and jeopardize the constitutional and legal guarantees protecting the human rights of Ecuadorian citizens.

Furthermore, he stated that it is inadmissible for a Court of Arbitration to order a State to annul a verdict ruled in trial between private individuals and which has been ratified by all judicial instances. This ruling clearly undermines the sovereignty of the State and its judicial independence, and above all it puts forward the supposed interests of “investors” over the human rights of the settlers who were affected by decades of deliberate contamination. This is unacceptable for any jurisdiction in the world, as their judicial systems would be simply reduced to lower courts in relation to those of arbitration.

Willian Lucitante, Coordinator of the Union of People Affected by Texaco (UDAPT), maintained that for more than 25 years justice has been denied, even by the Ecuadorian State, which on multiple occasions has yielded to pressure from the oil company and hindered the trial, which explains why this fight has been going on for a quarter of a century. He recalled that there are dozens of evidences of this pressure, which have been incorporated into the trial and publicly denounced. Regarding the content of the award, for Lucitante it is contradictory that the arbitration tribunal states that Ecuador has denied Chevron the possibility of a fair trial, despite recognizing that it has no jurisdiction to analyze the merits of the case, that the damage is real and that the contamination victims have the legitimate right to seek justice.

The Chevron III case was always a mechanism of blackmail used by the oil company on Ecuadorian governments to seek interference in private litigation, in which the State should not influence in any way. The main lawsuit filed by Chevron has the purpose to require the Ecuadorian government to intercede before its own courts (thereby violating judicial independence), to nullify the ruling against it, although knowing that this is unconstitutional.

As the arbitration award stems from a litigation between the oil company and the Ecuadorian State, the Ecuadorian victims were never part of this. Likewise, the State was never part of the private judgment against Chevron, so it is clear that it cannot be involved in any way, nor to prevent the enforcement of the judgment, much less to order its cancellation. Doing so would be a clear violation of human rights, such as access to justice and the right to be judged by an independent court.

The UDAPT spokesperson recalled as well that the Constitution of Ecuador establishes that the highest duty of the State is to guarantee human rights, for which it announces that the UDAPT will immediately resort to the Inter-American System for the protection of human rights, the Andean Court, the United Nations and other international panels to denounce the Government of Ecuador if it decides to put the obligations arising from the award before its international obligations in the field of human rights.

The duty of the State is now to exercise a technical defense using the strong legal arguments that support the position of Ecuador in this arbitration. The attorney for the plaintiffs, Pablo Fajardo, recalled that this arbitration award is related to a Bilateral Investment Treaty that was applied retroactively to this case, which immediately invalidates its application: Chevron left Ecuador in 1992, while the Agreement for Investment Protection was signed in 1997. “The only excuse for this arbitration is the negotiation and signing of a contract for the alleged remediation of contaminated areas, negotiated by Alberto Dahik and Sixto Durán Ballén”, added the lawyer, emphasizing at the same time that it has been demonstrated that this remediation was totally fraudulent.

Lucitante also showed concern about the evidence of current negotiations between the government of Ecuador and the government of the U.S.A., in which this private case has been placed as the main issue of negotiation, as previously explained by the Minister of Foreign Trade, Pablo Campana.

For the members of the UDAPT, what is happening now lights up the alarms about the need to revive the bilateral treaties for the supposed protection of investments, which in the reality aims to protect the transnationals that comment serious violations of human rights. Through its spokesperson, the indigenous people and settlers members of the UDAPT call on the State Attorney General, Iñigo Salvador, and the President of the Republic to defend national sovereignty, the independence of the judicial function and, above all, to guarantee full validity of the Constitution and the prevalence of the human rights of Ecuadorians over poorly negotiated obligations in international commercial matters.

 

Posted on September 10, 2018

Urgent Signature to Stop the Corporate Power of Chevron Texaco

0    FECHA: INDUSTRIAS EXTRACTIVAS, NOTICIAS
Article appearing in www.cdes.org.ec

Letter of solidarity with the victims of Chevron

The people who subscribe to this letter are women and men belonging to peoples, communities, social and collective organizations who work every day to defend human and and nature rights.

On 7 September 2018, the August 30 the arbitral award, issued by an international arbitration tribunal administered by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague was published.This Court was constituted under the auspices of the Treaty on the Mutual Promotion and Protection of Investments adopted between the United States and Ecuador in 1993 and denounced by Ecuador in 2017.

The Court ruled in this award in favour of the transnational corporation Chevron and its subsidiary Texaco, stating that Ecuador, in particular its judiciary, had breached various obligations under the investment agreement. In the arbitrators’ opinion, this violation is the result of the judgment issued against the oil company in 2011, condemning it to pay nine thousand five hundred million dollars for crimes against Human and Nature Rights caused by Texaco’s operations for more than 20 years in the Amazon. According to the arbitrators, this decision, which upheld a wide range of plaintiffs from indigenous communities and peoples affected by toxic waste, was obtained through fraud and corruption. With this argumentation, the arbitrators have woven a veil of impunity at the size of the oil company, which not only allows this transnational company not to comply with the judgment and not to compensate the thousands of victims, but also to obtain a huge amount of Ecuadorian public funds as compensation.

This decision is further proof of the legal impunity that trade and investment treaties grant to transnational corporations, allowing them not only to violate Human and Nature Rights without paying the consequences, but also to act against the monetary resources of sovereign states, constrained by the force of these treaties which, even when denounced, eventually prevail over human rights.

The signatories of this letter wish to express their rejection of this decision and their support for the people of Ecuador and the organizations that have defended the communities affected by Chevron Texaco, as well as their deep concern at the signals that have been sent to the Ecuadorian government regarding the Chevron case and its impact on the primacy of Human and Nature rights.

It is important to recall that Ecuador made history by including article 422 in the 2008 Constitution, which prohibits the transfer of sovereign jurisdiction to international arbitration bodies in contractual or commercial disputes between the State and private natural or legal persons. In the same vein, Ecuador has launched a major campaign to denounce crimes against nature committed by oil companies, in which world-renowned personalities have participated, supporting more than 30,000 people affected by Texaco’s toxic waste. Ecuador also promotes and supports the United Nations binding treaty process and chairs the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working group on Transnational Corporations (TNC’s) and Other Business Enterprises with Respect to Human Rights whose mandate is to develop a legally binding instrument to regulate the activities of transnational corporations and other corporations under international human rights law.

All these initiatives have received international recognition from thousands of human rights and environmental organizations and networks, who,dismayed and deeply concerned, are now looking to Ecuador and Lenin Moreno’s government.

Instead of defending its judicial system and the application of the right of access to justice in the country, as well as constitutional principles concerning investment treaties and the rights of affected communities and individuals, the Government of Ecuador issued a statement on 6 September in which it announced, already knowing the content of the arbitral award, which is still unknown to the public, that it would request the Attorney General to transfer any damage caused to the State in this case to representatives of the government of former President Rafael Correa. However, it should be noted that since Lenin Moreno’s government took office, he has indicated through various officials that he will seek “dialogue with Chevron”, as announced in September 2017 by Foreign Trade Minister Pablo Campana. Attention should be drawn to the fact that officials of the current government of Ecuador, such as Foreign Minister José Valencia, have spoken out publicly against Chevron’s violations in Ecuador. Therefore, have these current Ecuadorian government officials manipulated public opinion?

These are not the first setbacks of Lenin Moreno’s government, whose Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva published in June a draft binding treaty on business and human rights, with insufficient, inaccurate and deliberately undemanding content concerning corporate responsibility in human rights, which turns its back on four years of work on the international scene and wastes the efforts of global civil society to consolidate synergies on the international scene.

Concern about the drift of Lenin Moreno’s current government, which is turning its back on human rights and the well-being of the majority of the population, is increasing day by day, so the signatories have decided to take action to defend our colleagues affected by Chevron Texaco. In this regard, we call on the Ecuadorian Government to make transparent all information on the defence of the interests of the Ecuadorian State and the Ecuadorian people, on all dialogues held with Chevron. Similarly, we ask for an explanation of what its line of action will be to defend the rights of victims of transnationals in this case and as far as possible, as well as for the rectification of the line provided by its permanent mission in Geneva regarding the draft treaty presented behind the backs of civil society and those affected and affected by transnationals.

Our organizations fight against violations of these rights by transnational corporations, defend those affected, strive to end impunity for these companies and strive to achieve the full primacy of Human and Nature rights over policies to promote trade and attract investment. Ecuador has been an ally in many of these struggles, we hope that Lenin Moreno’s government will return to the path of defending Human and Nature rights against the power of transnational corporations.

Please spread this letter within your networks and contacts, we are seeking to increase the support of individuals or organizations wishing to show solidarity with those affected by Texaco.
If you would like to support this action with your organization or personally, send an email with your full name at: cdes@cdes.org.ec

#ChevronCulpable #NosMasImpunidad

LAST DELAY: Monday 10 September at 3 pm Europa (8 am Ecuador).

Ecuadorian Constitutional Court Rejects Chevron’s Protection Action

Ecuadorian Constitutional Court Rejects Chevron’s Protection Action

From: https://www.cetim.ch

UDAPT in action

18/07/2018

This is an important victory for the UDAPT. Ecuador’s Constitutional Court rejects the protection action requested by Chevron.

Following Chevron’s application to Ecuadorian courts to have the 2013 sentence that condemned this entity set aside, the Constitutional Court reaffirmed Chevron’s responsibility for environmental crimes in Ecuador’s Amazon.

An important victory for the Union of the communities affected by the oil operations of Texaco (now Chevron) (UDAPT), a long-standing partner of CETIM, which continues its fight for access to justice and against the impunity of transnational corporations.

We relay UDAPT’s press release here.

Link to CETIM.ch article here.

10 July 2018 El Universo artículo a punto Corte Constitucional de Víctor Gómez

Corte Constitucional rechazó acción de protección que presentó Chevron

Víctor Gómez
Martes, 10 de julio, 2018 – 18h24

La Corte Constitucional (CC) rechazó este martes el recurso de acción de protección interpuesto por la transnacional Chevron a la sentencia que pesaba en su contra por daños ambientales ocasionados en la Amazonía ecuatoriana durante el tempo que operó en la región.

“Hemos ganado definitivamente esta batalla jurídica en las cortes ecuatorianas, es un triunfo del país, es un triunfo del mundo entero de todos los colectivos que luchamos por un ambiente sano”, dijo Pablo Fajardo, abogado de los demandantes.

La resolución fue notificada a los casilleros judiciales a las 15:30 del martes, confirmó Fajardo.

Chevron había presentado una acción de protección pidiendo a los jueces de la CC que revoquen las sentencias de primera y segunda instancia emitidas por la Corte Provincial de Justicia de Sucumbíos y por la Corte Nacional de Justicia, que condenaron a pagar una indemnización de 9.500 millones de dólares por daños ambientales.

“Esta batalla no termina aquí, nos queda seguir batallando en las cortes canadienses donde seguimos la demanda para que Chevron pague la sentencia”, agregó Fajardo.

El jurista dijo que este miércoles se ofrecerán más detalles de la resolución emitida por la CC. (I)

10th July 2018 Press Release UDAPT

ECUADOR CONSTITUTIONAL COURT HAS DENIED THE PROTECTIVE EXTRAORDINARY ACTION REQUESTED BY CHEVRON CORPORATED.

The Constitutional Court of Ecuador has notified the parties of the decision to deny Chevron’s request for protection. This action was aimed at avoiding the payment of the sentence imposed by the Ecuadorian Courts of Justice, and thus evading his legal responsibility for the repair of the contaminated areas.

Yesterday afternoon, by means of a notification sent to the lawyers of the parties, the Constitutional Court officially announced the decision of the plenary session held on 27 June 2018 of this year, which denied the extraordinary action for protection. With this resolution, all the resources available in Ecuador within this judicial process are completed.

In an extensive 151-page document, the Constitutional Court details all the arguments that lead it to “Declare that there is no violation of constitutional rights”; and to, “Deny the extraordinary action for protection brought” by Chevron Corporation, in which it claims that its constitutional rights were violated.

This ruling is a great step towards access to justice, said Willian Lucitante, Executive Coordinator of the Union of People Affected by Texaco (UDAPT), an organization that protects more than 30,000 affected people, and has taken this case to all possible courts.

“After 25 years of struggle, we can finally close this chapter. We are taking firm steps to get justice,” said the UDAPT leader.

According to Lucitante, Chevron now cannot continue to deceive in other jurisdictions where it maintains that the sentence is not enforceable because the trial has not ended in Ecuador. This serves to request that the processes of recognition and execution of the sentence be halted and that the judicial obligation not be made effective, the debt be collected and repairs be carried out on more than 480,000 hectares of rainforest that until now have contained hundreds of toxic substances left by the oil company.

Donald Moncayo, UDAPT’s subordinate and representative of the settler communities affected by the contamination, stressed that it is not just a triumph of the organization, but of hundreds of organizations and millions of citizens around the world who fight to defend life and access justice. He stressed that these twenty-five years have been a time of learning, both for those affected and for thousands of social struggles, which have taken this case as an example to unravel the structures of impunity that shelter transnational corporations and allow them to violate the human rights of the communities where they operate.

Moncayo stated further that: this case not only affects Chevron, but it sets a precedent for prosecuting corporations, which generally commit environmental crimes and crimes against human beings by use of the complicity of the States. It is a victory over the system of corporate injustice and impunity that operates across the globe.

Pablo Fajardo, Common Attorney General of the affected people, stressed that in Ecuador, the judges of the three judicial instances and the magistrates of the Constitutional Court, “fulfilled their duty”, in spite of the immense pressures they experienced. On behalf of the country, Fajardo thanked those judges who did not succumb to blackmail and bribery attempts, which is a common practice of the transnationals, as evidenced in multiple cases that were reported in a timely manner during the course of more than two decades of this trial.

Fajardo recognized that this is not only a triumph for UDAPT or those affected, but is a triumph for all the peoples of the world who fight for access to justice, for a dignified life and for respect for human rights in the face of corporate crimes.  “We have not only defeated Chevron, we have defeated the corporate impunity system in Ecuador”.

He stressed that the Ecuadorian judicial system has been the only one in the world that has known and dealt with the Chevron case in depth. On the basis of sufficient evidence and legal arguments, he has proved those affected to be right in both judicial instances, in the National Court of Justice and now in the Constitutional Court. The “crime committed by the oil company is therefore obvious and proven, and we can no longer talk about alleged damage, let alone fraud”.

Finally, those affected were satisfied with both the ruling and the overall precedent they have set. It was unthinkable, said Willian Lucitante the Coordinator of the UDAPT, that a group of 30,000 indigenous and poor peasant farmers would confront one of the most powerful corporations in the world, “now we have shown that it is possible”, that the power of money has its limits when faced with the dignity of the peoples.  He said, the fight is not over and they will continue to litigate in foreign courts, such as Canada’s, to validate the ruling.

This press release has been issued by

M.E. Garcés, c/o UDAPT, Portete E12-79 y Abascal, Quito, Ecuador, casotexaco@gmail.com