Decree rekindles Yasuní Park oil-drilling concerns


A road opened in Yasuní National Park to access an oil-concession area known as Block 43. (Photo courtesy of YASunidos)

Thirteen years since the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) called for protection of two Ecuadorian indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation—the Tagaeri and Taromenane—indigenous-rights advocates are warning of new threats facing these and other indigenous groups. The immediate focus of concern is Yasuní National Park, a rainforest expanse in northeast Ecuador that many scientists consider among the world’s most biodiverse places on earth. The 9,800-square-kilometer (3,780-sq.-mi.) Yasuní is home to the Tagaeri and Taromenane, but also overlaps part of an oil-concession area that environmental and indigenous-rights advocates fear will be targeted for drilling both inside and outside the park. Paradoxically, the warnings follow the signing of a decree in May by Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno expanding the “intangible zone,” an area within the park that was established in 1999 to protect the Tagaeri and Taromenane, by 60,450 hectares (149,375... [Log in to read more]

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