Barcelona en Comú denounces attempts to shut down Acción Ecológica, Ecuador

Translation of press release published on 10/01/2017

Barcelona en Comú criticizes the government’s proposed closure of Acción Ecológica and defends freedom of expression and non-violent resistance to safeguard human and environmental rights.

On 20 December, the Ecuadorian Environment Ministry ordered the dissolution of the environmental organization, Acción Ecológica, accusing it of straying from its legally-constituted objectives. This move took place just two days after Acción Ecológica called for a Truth and Peace Commission to investigate possible violations of indigenous and environmental rights in Shuar, where indigenous communities are opposing mining in the Cordillera del Cóndor. The organization had, during the preceding weeks, been working to highlight the serious social and environmental problems in the region.

The closure order has been widely condemned by the international community, including by five independent United Nations experts and a wide range of Ecuadorian and global organizations.

Acción Ecológica

Acción Ecológica is an organization with strong ties to Barcelona; it has and does collaborate with many NGOS and environmental and development organizations, promoting a new social and environmental model to build a fairer, more sustainable society. In addition, many of its members have participated in research projects and courses at universities in Barcelona.

For decades, Acción Ecológica has co-led international networks such as oilwatch that denounce the social and environmental problems caused by petroleum extraction, and the international network for the abolition of ecological debt, which focuses on the role of North-South inequalities in global environmental problems. In Ecuador, it has led initiatives such as Yasuní-ITT and the struggle for constitutional recognition of the right to nature that have gained worldwide attention.

Despite all of this, the government is seeking the closure of Acción Ecológica. The organization’s appeal to the Environment Ministry is currently under consideration.

Barcelona en Comú wishes to express its full support for Acción Ecológica, and reaffirm the need for voices that are independent and critical of governments, committed to the environment and social rights as a tool of social transformation. We call for the appeal of Acción Ecológica against its closure to be heeded and for the organization’s activity to be allowed to continue.

Support the campaign on Twitter: #SOSPuebloShuar #SOSAccionEcologica