1. SARAYACU JATUN MINGAY KAPARI
[Literal translation-Sarayacu All Together Shout for Life]
2. Purpose of grant,
The purpose of the grant is to support the struggle of the Sarayacu Community (indigenous Kichwa) who are a traditional community in the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador. The Sarayacu Community has been so far resisting the incursion and invasion of an Oil Company Consortium (CGC/BurlingtonResources/ChevronTexaco) and is in great need of financial assistance to continue to defend our sacred lands that have never been logged, mined or exploited in any way. This land is virgin rainforest high in biodiversity in fauna and flora. Within Sarayacu Territory exist a unique lake zone of approximately 100 lakes that are considered sacred. Sarayacu Community is primarily an agricultural, fishing and farming community so funds are desperately needed to be able to be effective. The community is facing human rights abuses for defending its land, way of self-subsistence lifestyle and culture.
3. Concrete activities that will be sponsored by the grant
Dialogue and Connections and Networking
The activities that will be sponsored by the grant are the costs of flights for the leaders and elders that have been in dialogue with Ministers of the Ecuadorian government in an attempt to solve this dilemma. This is of vital importance as there is a real danger that the military at the oil consortium's urging will become involved in repressing the people and violating human rights. The Sarayacu leaders and elders need to take the flights due to safety reasons to the nearest city of Puyo in order to reach the Capital of Quito. Normally, travel by canoe takes 3 days. Travel by canoe is no longer safe or viable as there have been explicit death threats to these leaders by pro-oil members of other communities along the same river and the leaders need to pass these remote areas in order to reach Puyo, as well passage for any members of Sarayacu has been blocked. Filing expenses & basic starting costs for lawyers also need to be covered. These leaders and elders would include:
Franco Viteri- Sarayacu President
Mario Santi- Coordinator Jatun Mingay Campaign
Jose Gualinga- Internal Relations
Sabino Gualinga- Yachak, Leader of the Elders
An important section of the connections and networking is actually done overseas
in New York City, where 2 International Representatives of Sarayacu Community,
are stationed. Being placed there gives the good advantage of being able to
cut down on costs involved in contacting and communicating and networking with
the various human rights & environmental ngo's, organizations and individuals
as well as giving advantage to be able to meet in person. Conferences and talks
are also given to raise and increase awareness, visibility and support. Various
support is raised such as economic, moral and active support. These 2 representatives
stay in contact with the community through leaders in Puyo city via internet
and phone. Currently, these representatives are also in process of organizing
an International Gathering of Solidary Organizations & Individuals to take
place in Sarayacu. Media contacts outside of Ecuador, press releases, action
alerts and monthly updates are also handled by the representatives. The activities
sponsored by the grant will be a trip to Washington D.C. to meet with the lawyer
group of an organization (CEJIL) that will bring forth the Sarayacu case before
the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights. Also operating support of the
Campaign is necessary for the costs incurred such as phone, internet, travel
expenses and office supplies necessary to bring forth the work.
Juan Gualinga- International Representative
Karen Marrero- International Representative
4. Background on applicant (previous work in this or related areas).
Tayja Saruta Sarayacu is the traditional governing association of Sarayacu Community. The leaders of Sarayacu with it's team of trusted assistants are the most indicated to carry forth this work as they are in the position as leaders of the community. It has so far successfully carried forward the first 2 parts of the Campaign focused on the safeguarding of it's rainforest territories. It's financial accounting in 2001 has been picked to serve as an example of "model reporting" by Global Greengrants Foundation. Other related work developed in the community includes bilingual education, a sustainable community eco-tourism program and a program in raising tapirs.