The following statement rejecting Ascendant’s presence in Intag and asking them to leave within 30 days has been signed by approximately 700 members of the Cotacachi community, including Cotacachi’s Mayor and Municipal Council members.
Cotacachi, March 27 2005
The citizens, legitimate representatives of communities, organizations, and public entities of Cotacachi County, Imbabura Province, Ecuador, who subscribe the present document, do so with the aim of letting the whole world know, and in particular national and transnational mining companies, of our unyielding decision to NOT ALLOW MINING in Cotacachi County.
To the mining companies who aim to plunder our natural resources, destroy our communities, violate our rights, disturb our social peace and destroy our environment, know that we will always support the communities of Intag in their rejection of mining activities.
Organized civil society, along with Intag and Cotacachi’s authorities have definitely opted for sustainable development characterized by solidarity, reciprocity, democratic principles and citizen participation, respecting human, as well as individual and collective rights, and the right of communities to create and enjoy their own type of development, and to say NO to projects that threaten their natural and socio-cultural well-being.
Therefore, we ask Ascendant Exploration S.A., Ascendant Holdings Limited, and their subsidiaries and representatives, to leave, within 30 days, our County. Ascendant Exploration has never consulted or received previous consent from the communities potentially impacted by the mining project in order to develop its projects.
In addition, it has not consulted, or even minimally informed the Cotacachi Municipality of its plans and activities, or asked for the necessary municipal authorization. What it has created is a menacing environment ruled by violation of our rights, measures to divide us, threats, intimidations and lawsuits of all kinds against local community residents and a community newspaper.
In order to put an end to these types of problems, we request the Central Government, through the Ministry of Energy and Mines, to:
· Respect the independence and autonomy of the local governments of Cotacachi County.
· Desist from violating human rights protected by the Constitution of Ecuador, and specifically those that guarantee the right to be prior consultation in relation to the exploitation of non-renewable natural resources, and which could affect our natural and social environments.
· Respect the citizen’s rights to live in an ecologically balanced environment, free of contamination, as guaranteed by article 86 of the Constitution.
· Definitely abstain from granting concessions within Cotacachi County, and revoke those that do not have the authorization of the Municipality of Cotacachi and the consent of the communities that would be affected by mining activities, including exploration.
With our voices, hearts and minds united: “No to MINING AND YES TO LIFE”