Awá seek cleanup of land marred in pipeline attacks


Plaintiffs included these photos among those they submitted in their lawsuit against Ecopetrol, describing them as evidence of widespread oil pollution remaining from pipeline spills on Indigenous lands. (Photos courtesy of Cajar)

The Indigenous Awá people are pressing Colombia’s state-owned oil company Ecopetrol, its transport subsidiary Cenit, and various state agencies, to conduct environmental remediation to reverse ecological damage caused by spills from an oil pipeline that traverses Indigenous lands. Their demands underlie a lawsuit that Indigenous Unity of the Awá People (Unipa), a nongovernmental group representing 20 Awá reserves, filed in Bogotá Circuit Court on Feb. 19. The suit was dismissed by the circuit court and a second time in Bogotá Superior Court; but on May 24, Colombia’s Constitutional Court, the country’s highest tribunal, agreed to review the case. From 2014 to Sept. 2023, the TrasAndino Oil Pipeline, a 305-kilometer (189-mile) conduit that crosses southern Colombia, suffered more than 440 spills, according to Cenit, the pipeline’s operator. Many of the spills were caused by bombings by rebel groups such as the now-defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia... [Log in to read more]

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