April 29th, 2013
To: Ambassador Eduardo Alberto Calderon Ledesma
Ecuadorian Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia
World Trade Center 17th floor
Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav. 29-31
re: immediate amnesty to the people of San Pablo de Amalí who have been falsely accused of terrorism, violence and sabotage in legal actions.
Dear Mr. Ambassador,
We are from KRuHA (Koalisi Rakyat untuk Hak atas Air/ people's coalition for the right to water). KRuHA is a national coalition of hundreds of community organisations, CSOs and individuals, we have been working since 2001 to promote the realization of the human right to water and fighting against any form of rights violations, locally and globally. We also consider ourselves to be part of the Global Water Justice Movement against the dictation of nationals policies by the MNCs/ TNCs that are violating citizen’s basic and constitutional rights.
We have been monitoring the people of San Jose del Tambo's efforts for nine years to stop a major hydroelectric project. Hidrotambo S.A. was granted a concession to over 90% of the waters of the Dulcepamba River and its tributaries for 50 years or for the duration of the useful life of the planned 8-megawatt hydroelectric project. The micro-watershed under concession spans 39,500 hectares, and its 40,000 inhabitants will not be able to access water in future years for their small-scale agricultural activities and the raising of livestock. Hidrotambo S.A. has used repressive measures and many community members have been imprisoned and injured.
We are also witnesses of the campaign of Acción Ecológica, FECAB-BRUNARI, Tierra y Vida and others in holding President Correa accountable to his 2006 campaign promise to stop the San Jose del Tambo project.
Between 2005 and 2007, the Ecuadorian Army Corps of Engineers, which Hidrotambo contracted to build the project, arranged the militarization of the region in order to guarantee the viability of the project. According to numerous human rights reports, a documentary on the issue called Represados, and other media sources, the Armed Forces committed multiple severe acts of violence and harassment in the community of San Pablo de Amalí, which left both children and adults injured. They shot rubber bullets and teargas canisters, which injured various inhabitants and left two individuals blind--one of whom also lost a kidney. They entered community leaders' houses illegally to intimidate them. They robbed $7,000 dollars from a local farmer, earned from an entire coffee harvest. They injured an 18-month-old child and abandoned him on a public road. These acts provoked an expulsion of the soldiers, an Arbitration and Mediation process, and the subsequent suspension of the project.
But Hidrotambo S.A. renewed their Hydroelectric Generation contract and returned to the region in 2012. As stated in a report written by the Ecuadorian NGO Acción Ecológica in June of 2012, the new contract is, in fact, illegal. A new and different contract like the one that Hidrotambo has received is not permitted without an accompanied updated environmental impact study and a new environmental license. Neither of these documents have been updated or revised. Also revealed in the report, private electricity generation contracts for 5-10MW projects can only be granted for a period of 23-40 years and no longer, and Hidrotambo's contract allows for 50 years of operation.
In March 2012, Hidrotambo entered the region once again, this time with the backing of the National Police, who, together with private guards and company employees, have played the repressive role that the Army Corps of Engineers played before. Also revealed by the Peace Commission, in articles published in El Universo newspaper and by a campesino organization, FECAB-BRUNARI, in June 2012 several landowners tried to impede Hidrotambo's invasion of their property, and as a result they were repressed and illegally detained. One of those detained is handicapped. Further invasions of private property occurred in July, accompanied by police intimidation and aggression. In response to trespassing on private property and physical aggression against an elderly woman and a disabled child, community members arrived to offer support, which led to a confrontation that left several people injured. Since June 29th, allegedly false accusations of violence, sabotage, and terrorism have been registered against 20 people from San Pablo de Amalí, and in November, the Fifth Cantonal Court of Chillanes issued an order of 'preventative imprisonment' for the alleged crime of sabotage, against two key leaders of San Pablo de Amalí. They both continue in court proceedings.
Also exposed in a FECAB-BRUNARI report, in recent months two elderly individuals were dragged, hit, detained and handcuffed, to prevent them from carrying out interviews with a television channel. Additionally, the mayor of Chillanes has suffered intimidation and has been subjected to court proceedings for supporting the local communities.
We write to express serious concern with the unjust appropriation of natural resources and the violent actions taken by the company. We call on your government to consider the demand of your people to stop the San José del Tambo hydroelectric project. The community of San Pablo de Amalí, especially, has experienced many years of violence and intimidation for peacefully defending their land and their waters. Appropriation of this water reflects a profound disrespect of Nature and the concept of "Full Life," Sumak Kawsay, as enshrined in the Ecuadorian Constitution.
We call on President Rafael Correa and his government to take the following measures to end and redress the injustices that have been caused by the San José del Tambo hydroelectric project:
Please recognize that due to the serious impact on the communities from the loss of their water and permanent violence and intimidation, and due to the illegalities in every step and procedure of the San José del Tambo project, it must be cancelled.
Muhammad Reza Sahib
KRuHA - Indonesia
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