• Indigenous peoples in Ecuador

    Indigenous peoples in Ecuador

    Ecuador’s indigenous population numbers some 1.1 million peoples composed by 14 indigenous nationalities. Ecuador voted in favour of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and has ratified ILO Convention 169.

Ecuador

Indigenous Peoples in Ecuador 

The Indigenous population in Ecuador accounts for approximately 1.1 million people. Ecuador voted in favour of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007 and has ratified ILO Convention 169. However, the Indigenous population does not have full guarantees of civil, political, cultural, and territorial rights, and are still facing a number of serious challenges, and there aren't any specific public policies in place to prevent and neutralise the risk of disappearance of Ecuador’s Indigenous Peoples.

Indigenous Peoples in Ecuador 

The current population of Ecuador is 17,475,570 inhabitants (National Institute of Statistics and Census INEC, August 2020), and there are 14 Indigenous nationalities totalling nearly 1,100,000 inhabitants, grouped into a number of local, regional and national organisations. 


24.1% of the Indigenous population live in the Amazon, divided into 10 nationalities. Of the Andean Kichwa population, 7.3% live in the Southern Mountains and 8.3% in the Coastal region and on the Galapagos Islands. 60.3% of the Andean Kichwa live in six provinces of the Central-Northern Sierra; and the remaining 8.3% live in the Coastal region and the Galapagos Islands.

The Shuar, who form a nationality of more than 100,000 people, have a strong presence in three provinces of the Amazonian Centre-South, where they account for between 8%and 79% of the total population. The rest are spread in small groups across the country.

There are different nationalities with very little populations that are in a highly vulnerable situation. In the Amazon, the A’i Cofán with 1,485 inhabitants, the Shiwiar with 1,198 inhabitants, the Siekopai with 689 inhabitants, the Siona with 611 inhabitants, and the Sapara with 559 inhabitants. On the coast, we can find the Épera with 546 inhabitants and the Manta with 311 inhabitants.

Main challenges for Ecuador’s Indigenous Peoples

The public policies ensuring automatic or full guarantees of Indigenous rights in Ecuador, particularly civil and political, cultural and territorial, generally have not improved.

A key problem for the Waorani peoples revolves around the state’s persistent promotion of the exploitation of oil on their territory known as the Waorani Reserve and the Yasuní National Park. There is also an aggressive presence of large-scale mining on the Shuar territory.

Four events directly affected the living conditions and economic and social rights of Ecuador’s Indigenous Peoples and nationalities in 2020: the aftermath of the great popular protest of October 2019; the unleashing of the COVID-19 pandemic; the rupture of the main oil pipeline and subsequent oil spill; and the political dispute surrounding the 2021 presidential and congressional elections.

Potential progress for Indigenous Peoples in Ecuador 

A presidential call for a referendum to be held in February 2018 aimed to ensure the support of the Indigenous movement and environmental groups by including questions on banning extractive activities, for example, metal mining in ecologically fragile areas, and on limiting oil exploitation in Block 43 of the Yasun National Park: 67.5 percent voted in favor of increasing Yasuní National Park’s Intangible Zone by at least 50,000 hectares and reducing the oil extraction area in the park from 1,030 to 300 hectares.

Nemo Andi: "We have been speaking the truth about all that is happening in the Amazon, the jungle and the Ecuadorian coast"

The head of the Women and Health of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon (CONFENIAE) participated in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva. As a member of a confederation that brings together 11 nationalities and 23 organizations of the Amazon region, the Waorani leader explains that this instrument allows Indigenous Peoples to make their reality and the abuses they suffer known.

Photo: ONU Mujeres

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Ecuador: National Mobilization suspended and an uncertain dialogue is established

BY ALFREDO VITERY GUALINGA FOR DEBATES INDÍGENAS

The Act for Peace marked a truce between the Government and the Indigenous organizations that promoted the National Strike that paralyzed the whole country. However, the political environment has not calmed down and society is waiting for President Lasso to comply with the 10 agreed demands. After reducing the price of gasoline and diesel, the Ecuadorian people expect a moratorium on financial debts, food at a fair price, job creation and investment in health. The waiting time is running out and the Indigenous peoples will not return to dialogue if the Government does not comply with what has been agreed.

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Neglected Isolated Indigenous Peoples in Ecuador

 
BY EDUARDO PICHILINGUE RAMOS
 
The advances in the defense of Isolated Indigenous Peoples (IIP), which have been supported by the Ecuadorian State for the last 14 years, have not been translated into an effective protection within their territories. Even the acknowledgment of the existence of these peoples in article 57 of the 2008 Constitution ceased to exist every time the extraction of resources was prioritized. Over and over again, a “schizophrenic” State failed to keep the promises made to protect their rights.
 

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Indigenous Justice in Ecuador

BY MARIANA YUMBAY FOR DEBATES INDÍGENAS

The 2008 Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador establishes Ecuador as a plurinational and intercultural country. One of the most important areas of progress has been that of recognizing Indigenous justice systems to resolve conflicts in their own territories when they affect basic principles such as ama llulla, ama killa, ama shwa and ranti ranti. Taking their own customs, law and socio-economic situation into consideration, sanctions other than imprisonment are imposed. Nevertheless, while the two justice systems should be hierarchically equal, the ordinary justice system in practice limits the powers of the Indigenous authorities while at the same time depriving more than 600 Indigenous people of their freedom.

Indigenous Assembly. Photo: API

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The Indigenous World 2022: Ecuador

According to the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC, February 2022), Ecuador's current population stands at 17,895,131 inhabitants.[i] There are 14 Indigenous nationalities in the country totalling more than one million people and they are organised in local, regional and national organisations. Indigenous nationalities and peoples live mainly in the highlands (68.20%), followed by the Amazon (24.06%), with only 7.56% found on the coast. The following Indigenous nationalities were included in the 2010 Census for self-identification purposes: Tsáchila, Chachi, Epera, Awa, Kichwa, Shuar, Achuar, Shiwiar, Cofán, Siona, Secoya, Zápara, Andoa and Waorani.

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State racism, uprooting and memory loss: Indigenous women in Ecuador's prisons

Official statistics obscure the fact that the number of criminalized individuals and communities belonging to Indigenous Peoples far exceeds the number of prisoners who actually self-identify as Indigenous, because these figures exclude family members devoted to supporting them as well as the communities they were part of and to which they will eventually return once released. Similarly, statistics hide the fact that the majority of the prison population is of Indigenous and African origin and had been affected by racism, deprivation, massive waves of displacement to cities and oblivion.

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