MiniUpdate 8 July 2006
More Troubles for Ascendant: The Nation’s Ombudsman Intervenes in the Junin Case
“….With the above antecedents, and in view of the fact that the facts denounced would indicate that Articles 24(6), 86, 87, 88, 89 and 91 of the National Constitution of the Republic have been violated and by virtue of the powers established in Article 96 of the National Constitution of the Republic and 2b) of the Organizational Law of the Ombudsman’s Office, in my capacity as FIRST DEPUTY OF THE OMBUDSMAN, I HEREBY ORDER: That the corresponding dossier be opened in the Ombudsman’s Office in order to investigate the facts denounced and issue a ruling on the enforcement of the fundamental rights listed above;…”
This is an extract of a major decision handed down earlier this week by Ecuador’s First Deputy Ombudsman addressing some of the irregularities and illegalities surrounding Ascendant Copper Corporation’s Junin mining project. The denouncement was presented by DECOIN and two local residents of the area against not only Ascendant’s tactics and procedures, but also against government institutions for not carrying out their respective duties to guarantee full compliance of the law.
The Ombudsman’s decisions carries with it the obligation of state institutions to abide by the recommendations it issues.
The violations mentioned in the decision have to do with the duty of the state to guarantee the right of local populations to be previously consulted prior to the state taking decisions that might affect the community’s environment and the people´s right to live in an environment free of contamination, among other fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution.
Copies of the ruling was sent to several government institutions requesting a response from them, and the Ombudsman also instructed Cotacachi’s Mayor to take the necessary measures so that ” he can prevent the implementation of activities contrary to the fundamental rights of the population of the community of Chalguayacu Bajo and other zones that may possibly be affected by the activities of the Golden 1 and Golden 2 concession.”
The legal strategies will not end here. Several other lawsuits, administrative actions and other activities are planned for the near future to assure this project does not violate our rights, and is stopped once and for all. These include a massive demonstration in Ecuador’s capital against the mining project planned for next week.
The demonstration will be led by local, regional and national elected officials.