* Posted by Ahni
* September 10, 2007
At the end of August, two Indigenous Leaders in Puyo, Ecuador were attacked after months of receiving death threats for their efforts to protect the territory of the Zapara people in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Gloria Ushigua and Rosa Gualinga were beaten until unconscious, thrown in the trunk of a car, and later left for dead.
From Free Peltier Now – Both women are internationally known human rights defenders. Gloria Ushigua is a leader of the Zapara people. Rosa Gualinga is of the Andoas people and works closely with the Zapara. The Zapara are an indigenous people in danger of becoming extinct, with a current population in Peru and Ecuador of approximately 650. Gloria is an elected representative of Nacionalidad Zapara de la Amazonia Ecuatoriana (NAZAE), the official representative organization of the Zapara people in Ecuador, which works to promote and protect the lives and lands of the Zapara people. Zapara territory is rich with natural resources, like oil, timber and botanical medicines, and there are varied interests who are trying to exploit them.
In recent years, a group of people who are not Zapara have made several attempts to illegally seize from NAZAE the official right to represent the Zapara people and take control of Zapara land. Several people in this group have been threatening Gloria and Rosa for over a year. In recent months, after NAZAE won a legal victory over the group, these threats have intensified.
On Sunday, August 26th, a woman named Eliza Nango approached Gloria in the street in downtown Puyo. She said that her mother was Zapara and that she had an organization that worked with indigenous communities. She invited Gloria and Rosa to her house to discuss her work and the possibilities of collaboration.
At about 9pm, they were sitting in the patio area outside of Ms. Nango’s house when a man entered the patio, kicked Rosa and sprayed Gloria and Rosa in the face with a large quantity of what appears to have been tear gas. Three other men entered, and the four of them viciously beat Gloria and Rosa with fists, feet and clubs. Gloria was hit on the head with a rock. Witnesses say that the four men threw the two unconscious women into the trunk of a car and sped off. (source)
RECOMMENDED ACTION (Please send appeals as quickly as possible):
- expressing concern for the safety of Gloria Ushigua and Rosa Gualinga, and urging authorities to take immediate and effective action to protect them and ensure that they receive the medical attention that they require.
- calling on authorities to order a thorough investigation into this attack, with results made public and those responsible brought to justice.
MAKE APPEALS TO:
Governor of Pastaza
Ismael Fabricio Arcos Lopez
Calle Atahualpa y 10 de Agosto
Telephone: 03-2885308 03-2885423
Ministro de Gobierno
Espejo y Benalcazar
Telephone: 593 2 2955666
Dra. Lourdes Tiban
Secretaria Ejecutiva Nacional
Consejo de Desarrollo de las Nacionalidades
y Pueblos del Ecuador (CODENPE)
Ave. Garcia Moreno
Telephone: 593 2 258 1319
Fax: 593 2 258 1559, ext. 109
Tags: Ecuador, indigenous, land, struggles, women, Zapara