Indigenous Tribe Wins Legal Battle Against Oil Companies, Preventing Drilling In The Rainforest

May 17, 2019

After a long legal battle, the Waorani people successfully protected half a million acres of their ancestral territory in the Amazon rainforest from being mined for oil by huge oil corporations.

Waorani tribe wins lawsuit against oil companies

The indigenous Waorani community in Ecuador won a landmark lawsuit against three government bodies for conducting a faulty consultation process with the community before putting their territory up for sale in an international oil auction.

The ruling immediately suspends any possibility of selling the community's land for oil exploration.

"The government tried to sell our lands to the oil companies without our permission," said Nemonte Nenquimo, one of the Waorani plaintiffs. "Our rainforest is our life. We decide what happens in our lands. We will never sell our rainforest to the oil companies. Today, the courts recognized that the Waorani people, and all indigenous peoples have rights over our territories that must be respected. The government’s interests in oil is not more valuable than our rights, our forests, our lives."

The crux of the lawsuit was the Waorani's claim that the government had not properly consulted their community about the oil auction.

This win for the indigenous tribe has now set an invaluable legal precedent for other indigenous nations across the Ecuadorian Amazon.

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