Stand.earth demands justice for Eduardo Mendúa’s murder
March 9, 2023
The Stand.earth community is heartbroken to learn that Indigenous leader Eduardo Mendúa was murdered on Feb. 26 at his home in Dureno, Ecuador. We send our sincerest condolences to his family, friends, and community.
“The murder of Eduardo Mendúa is a tragedy, and a stark reminder of the risks faced by those who fight for the rights of Indigenous people,” Stand.earth Amazon Campaign Co-Director Matt Krogh said.
Consistent expansion pressure from oil companies creates the conditions for violence that resulted in Mendúa’s murder, as well as deforestation and violations of Indigenous rights. Through his work, Mendúa was a vocal advocate for Ecuadorian Indigenous rights and the protection of the Amazon rainforest.
“We extend our deepest condolences to his family and community. We will honor his memory by reinforcing our commitment to social justice and the environment,” Krogh said.
Mendúa dedicated his life to defending the rights of his community, the A’i Cofán of Dureno, against oil companies, and fought for the rights of Indigenous peoples in Ecuador as a national representative in the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE). He was a leader in resisting the expansion of operations of the state-owned oil company Petroecuador in their territories, or what the government calls Block 57.
Dureno was one of the first communities where oil extraction took place in Ecuador starting in 1972. Oil blocks in these territories were closed in 1998 by the community due to the lack of free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) and the impact of permanent oil spills on residents’ health. Petroecuador reopened these wells in 2012, and since 2022, has started developing an access road in a community-owned conservation area with plans to build 30 new wells.
Indigenous communities in the Amazon Basin face significant risks due to the ongoing destruction of the rainforest that perpetuates biodiversity loss, as well as threatening their sovereignty and ways of life. Conservation efforts alone are not enough to protect the Amazon; it also requires respecting the rights of Indigenous communities and supporting their work to defend their homes against the extractive industries that seek to exploit their land.
Stand.earth stands in solidarity with Indigenous communities worldwide, and is committed to working to protect their rights and the environment.
Cari Barcas, Communications Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 312 720 7940 (Eastern Time)