Marlon Santi, President of the Sarayaku Association

Re: Marlon Santi, President of the Sarayaku Association

To: Dr. Jaime Darmeval Martinez, Minister of the Interior

From: Monique Pongracic-Speier, member of LRWC

Date: 2005-01-11

LRWC is gravely concerned for the safety of Mr. Marlon Santi, President of the Sarayaku Association and a candidate for the Presidency of the Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador (“CONAIE”).

According to credible information received from Amnesty International, Mr. Santi received two death threats just prior to the CONAIE elections on December 23, 2004. On December 21, 2004, Mr. Santi was reportedly threatened by an anonymous telephone caller who said, “te vamos a matar”. At the time of the call, Mr. Santi was participating in the second Congreso de Nacionalidades y Pueblos Indígenas del Ecuador. Then, on December 22, 2004, Mr. Santi received a call in the early morning. The caller declared, “desiste de tu candidatura porque no vas lograr ni 24 horas en el cargo, se te va a acabar la respiración.”

It is obvious from the content of the second telephone call to Mr. Santi that the death threats against him are related to his participation in the CONAIE elections.

LRWC is advised that both death threats have been reported to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights.

Mr. Minister and Madam Attorney General, LRWC recalls that the threats against Mr. Santi are the latest in a series of acts of intimidation against individuals involved with Sarayaku political organisations and social causes. LRWC is aware, for example, that since February 2003, Amnesty International has documented a number of abuses against human rights workers who support the Sarayaku. LRWC is not aware of a government investigation into any of these abuses.

LRWC also recalls that in May and December 2003, the Inter American Commission on Human Rights asked the Ecuadorian government to take steps to protect the Sarayaku indigenous community and its leaders. LRWC urges the Educadorian Government to assiduously heed the Inter American Commission’s requests. In this regard, LRWC respectfully reminds Ecuador of its obligations pursuant to the American Convention on Human Rights, and the Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in the area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and, more broadly, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (“ICCPR”) and the ICCPR Optional Protocol.

Further, I note that I previously wrote to the Government of Ecuador regarding the safety of human rights advocates who support the Sarayaku on April 8 and April 27, 2004. LRWC is disappointed that Sarayaku individuals and their supporters continue to be threatened and harassed in relation to legitimate political and advocacy work.

In accordance with our previous correspondence to you, LRWC calls on you to act on Ecuador’s international obligations by immediately investigating the threats against Mr. Santi and other threatened individuals. We urge you to make the results of all investigations public and to bring those responsible for wrongdoing to justice.