The human rights organization Fundación Pachamama received a telephone bomb threat on 6 April. This is the latest in a series of acts of intimidation and threatening phone calls they and the Instituto Amazanga have suffered since February this year. Both organizations have supported the Sarayaku indigenous community in their campaign against plans by a foreign oil company to drill for oil in their territory in Pastaza province.
The caller told a Fundación Pachamama staff member, “We already told you and you did not listen, now we have left a little present in the building”. The staff evacuated their office and called the police, who searched the building but found nothing. A few hours later a box was left outside the organization’s front door. Police checked the box, but it was empty. The organisation reported both incidents to the Attorney General’s office. Members of Fundación Pachamama also reported the death threat they received in February 2004 to the Attorney General’s office. However, the Attorney General’s office is not known to have carried out any investigation.
Pablo Xavier Ortiz, member of the indigenous organization Instituto Amazanga (Amazanga Institute), has reportedly received a series of anonymous threatening telephone calls over the past month. On 12 February, Pablo Ortiz received a threatening phone call in a hotel in the town of Puyo where he was working. The caller told him, “you will see what we do to you, you son of a bitch”. On 18 February, a caller shouted at Pablo Ortiz when he answered the phone, “Son of a bitch, who supports the Indians of Puyo [in Pastaza province], we have been following you for a long time, you will see what happens to you if you continue bothering us”. The most recent call came on 1 March, when a man called his home while he was out. Pablo Xavier Ortiz and members of Instituto Amazanga have not reported any further death threats since the beginning of March 2004. Amnesty International is not aware of any investigation by the Attorney General’s office into these death threats.
On 27 February 2004, Amnesty International received a letter from the Ecuadorian Ministry of Energy and Mining in response to this Urgent Action, stating that the it was a priority for the Ecuadorian government to ensure the wellbeing of all its citizens. However, the letter did not state whether the Ecuadorian authorities had opened any investigation into the complaints filed; nor did it say what measures the Ecuadorian state would take to ensure their safety and to guarantee that such acts are not repeated.
Letter by Monique Pongracic-Sperier was sent on April 8, 2004