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Ecuador: Ecuador has become increasingly hostile for environmental and human rights defenders, says report

“Environmental defenders in Ecuador aren’t safe, new report shows”, 09 July 2021

...Ecuador...has become increasingly hostile for environmental and human rights defenders, according to a new report by Ecuador’s Alliance for Human Rights, a group of local and international rights organizations. The report shows that rights defenders — particularly those fighting against oil and mining extraction, agribusiness, and in defense of water rights — regularly face intimidation, threats, harassment, persecution and even assassinations. Focusing on just 22 emblematic cases from past 10 years, the report highlights 449 rights defenders who have been victim of such abuses. These include three assassinations — Andres Durazno and two Indigenous Shuar leaders, Freddy Taish and José Tendetza — for which no one has been brought to justice. The report also holds the Ecuadoran state responsible, not only for failing to protect rights defenders, but also for repeatedly criminalizing them…[M]any of these projects, as well as the country’s growing agribusiness sector, are located in areas on or near Indigenous, Afro-descendent or Montubio people’s lands, often causing conflict with these populations, and making rights defenders and their territorial fights more visible...Ecuador currently doesn’t have policies that protect rights defenders from these kinds of abuses, but it is a signatory to international agreements to protect these defenders, like the recently implemented Escazú Agreement and the U.N. Declaration on Human Rights Defenders...