Human Rights Measure

Human Rights
Human Rights

Court Forces Ecuador Government to Protect Indigenous Waorani during Covid-19

Date Enacted: June 2020
Country: Ecuador

A provincial court ruling required “several government ministries to take urgent action to contain COVID-19 in Waorani territory, and protect the uncontacted Indigenous nations of Tagaeri and Taromenane, whose territory borders Waorani land.” The ruling required “the Ministry of Health to coordinate with Waorani leadership to send medical teams with intercultural experience into their territories to conduct COVID-19 testing, return the results, as well as provide sufficient medical supplies to local community health centers.” Additionally, the decision “forces the Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion to coordinate with local governors and Waorani Indigenous leaders to provide food and essential supplies to communities.” Responding to allegations that outside activities on Waorani land were “vectors of contagion,” “the judge ordered the Ministry of Environment and Water to send a report detailing its monitoring of illegal mining, logging and drug trafficking activities in Waorani territory” and “ordered the ministry as well as the Secretariat of Human Rights to provide information on the COVID-19 protocols for oil companies operating within Waorani territory, to establish whether adequate health and safety measures are in place to prevent further contagion within communities.”