The Sarayaku Case



Made up of approximately 1,200 inhabitants distributed in 5 indigenous communities and located in the province of Pastaza; the Kichwa Original People of Sarayaku live in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

The development and continuity of their worldview, based on comprehensive respect and sustainable management of natural resources to ensure the continuity of the Kawsak Sacha ("Living Forest"), has allowed the maintenance of their territory and the ecosystems that exist in it.

95% of the Sarayaku territory is primary forest, with high biodiversity.


The Problem

In 1996, without the prior consent of the Sarayaku People, the Ecuadorian State granted the Compañía General de Combustibles de Argentina (CGC) the territory that makes up block No. 23 for the exploration of hydrocarbons and oil exploitation raw. That is, 65% of the ancestral land of Sarayaku.

CGC violently entered the Sarayaku territory for the seismic exploration phase, leaving the clearing of trails and nearly 1,400 kg of pentolite explosive planted throughout block 23.

To defend their territory and culture, the Sarayaku People mobilized and their members were victims of violence and harassment for their resistance process.



In 2003 Sarayaku went before the Inter-American Human Rights System to demand the protection of their rights.

On April 21, 2014, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights visited the territory of the Kichwa Indigenous People of Sarayaku to carry out an evidentiary procedure before its sentence. The visit was arranged as an exceptional measure within the proceedings to observe the situation of the Sarayaku people and visit areas where the events occurred.



In 2012, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued a ruling declaring the international responsibility of the Ecuadorian State for violating the human rights of the Kichwa People of Sarayaku.



In 2019, the filing for an action for non-compliance with the inter-American judgment issued in 2012 occurred. The operation demands compliance with the comprehensive reparation measures provided for in the discernment, including:

  • The removal of pentolite explosives planted by CGC in the Sarayaku territory.
  • Prior, free, and informed consultation with Sarayaku about any project or intervention in their territory.
  • The adoption of legislative, administrative, or other measures that allow the full exercise of the right to free, prior, and informed consultation.