Defenders of Nature and Mother Earth Case



Presenter: Carlos Perez Guartambel

Carlos Perez Guartambel, an Ecuadorian lawyer, indigenous leader for collective water rights, and the author of Water or Gold: Kimsacocha, the resistance for water.

View the Judge’s ruling by Elsie Monge on the Defenders of Nature case.

International Rights of Nature Tribunal


The Law of the Jungle in Peru, refers to the application of ten legislative decrees and laws under the Free Trade Agreement between Peru and the United States dealing with the lives of indigenous peoples. In May 2008 Amazonian indigenous peoples began protests against this package of decrees, directed in favor of the transnational oil and mining corporations. These protests were confronted by government force. Violence ensued which left 34 people dead, and over 200 wounded. Five years later, 52 indigenous leaders have lawsuits against them.


Judges: Ruth Nyambura and Atossa Soltani

Criminalization of defenders of Mother Earth in Ecuador: Belén Páez (Pachamama Foundation), Manari Ushigua (Sápara leader), Braulio Gutierrez (Yasunidos)

Fossil fuel and chemical contamination: Yudith Nieto, and Bryan Parras(USA-Houston TX, T.E.J.A.S)

Information held in the Tribunal of Paris:

Manari Ushigua(Sápara leader),Braulio Gutierrez(Yasunidos),and Belén Páez (Executive Director, Pachamama Foundation) presented the case of the criminalization of defenders of Mother Earth that is occurring in Ecuador. Presenters detailed the ruthlessness of actions being taken against Defenders.  Yudith Nieto, Juan and Byron Parras (USA-Houston TX, T.E.J.A.S) presented the case demonstrating the devastating effects of Fossil fuels and chemical contamination on communities in Ecuador and around the world.  The 2nd International Rights of Nature Tribunal in Lima, Peru was dedicated to José Isidro Tendetza Antun, Shuar leader from the Condor Mine region of Ecuador. Only days before the Tribunal commenced in December 2014, José Tendetza’s lifeless body was found bound and gagged in a river.


Informations held in the Tribunal of Bonn:

The UDRME requires all human beings and institutions to defend the rights of Mother Earth and of all beings. Evidence from around the world exposed the wide-spread disregard for this duty and how people, particularly indigenous peoples, in the United States of America, Russia, Latin America and Africa are being persecuted for defending Nature from harm. In many cases the persecutions of indigenous peoples such as the Sámi peoples over long periods of time were clearly designed to destroy cultural understandings and practices that respect and protect the rights of Mother Earth and other beings.

Witnesses who testified included water protectors from Standing Rock in the United States, and representatives of indigenous peoples from Sweden (Sámi), and Russia (Shor). The Tribunal heard how indigenous people using peaceful means to defend water and Mother Earth are met with violence as governments protect corporate interests as occurred at Standing Rock. The Lakota Sioux tribe was never adequately consulted about the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline across their land. The evidence showed that the pipeline would diminish the quality of life of indigenous peoples minorities, specifically in relationship to the sacredness of water and sacred and cultural significant areas.

The Tribunal noted the ongoing history of systemic violations of the rights of the indigenous peoples. And reiterated that everyone has the duty to defend those who protect the rights of Mother Earth and to break the pattern of violation and abuse of indigenous peoples.

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Learn more About the tribunal

The Fifth International Tribunal of the Rights of Nature urges the rulers, companies and other officials identified in this verdict to accept and follow the recommendations made by this respected Ethical Tribunal in the name of Nature.

International Rights of Nature Tribunal