The Sapara Case



The Sapara Indigenous Nationality includes 23 communities that inhabit and protect around 375,000 hectares of the Amazon that unites Ecuador and Peru.

In 2001, the Sapara nationality was declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Basing its worldview on recognizing the sacredness of living and inanimate natural elements with whom they coexist in the forest.


The Problem

The Sapara Nationality, which used to have 200,000 members, currently consists of 570 people between Ecuador and Peru. Their culture is under constant threat from the advance of the extractive frontier in their territory and the violent and non-consensual intervention of the State in their traditional organizational processes.

In 2021, the Ministry of Agriculture of Ecuador did not consider the organizational structure of the Sapara Nationality of Ecuador and decided to modify the property title of their ancestral territory to grant 70% of their land to an association named Naruka.



On July 31, 2021, the Sapara Nationality filed a protection action for the violation of their rights to ancestral property caused by the Undersecretariat of Rural Lands and Ancestral Territories (an entity dependent on the Ministry of Agriculture ).

The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) and NASE (political organization and legal representative of the Sapara Nationality of Ecuador) ratified the illegitimacy of the Naruka association.



On October 18, 2021, the Civil Judicial Unit of the Pastaza region accepted the protection action, declaring the violation of the right to territory of the Sapara Nationality. The Ministry of Agriculture filed an appeal.

On July 22, 2022, the Provincial Court of Pastaza denied the appeal and ratified the violation of the rights of the Sapara Nationality.