A Tiny Amazon Tribe Just Won A Landmark Case Against The Big Oil Companies

A small Indigenous tribe has won a landmark case against the Ecuadorian government that will change how much power the big oil companies have. The Waorani community, who lives in the Amazon rainforest, banded together and brought forth a case against the Ecuadorian government.

The case goes all the way back to 2012 when the Ecuador government attempted to sell off land to big oil companies. The shocking ruling saved millions of acres of land and included in a specific clause that could set a new precedent for protecting Indigenous land rights.

The Ecuador Government Was Trying To Auction Off Land To Oil Companies Back In 2012

Waorani indigenous woman holding protest sign outside the ministry of natural resources
CRISTINA VEGA/AFP/Getty Images
CRISTINA VEGA/AFP/Getty Images

The Waorani troubles began back in 2012 when the Ecuador government began to divide the southern Amazon forest into blocks. They intended to put them up for sale at an international auction for oil companies. Of those blocks, number 22 overlapped almost entirely with Waorani protected territory.

According to international law, a government has to undergo a “free, prior, and informed consent process” with the Indigenous community before they can make any changes to the land. The Waorani claimed that didn’t happen.