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Lynn Boylan MEP calls for justice for Chevron’s victims in Ecuador

16 April, 2015 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has backed an international campaign for justice for the indigenous people of the Ecuadorian Amazon, who have been fighting multinational oil company Chevron for more than 20 years. 

The activists are campaigning for compensation to be paid for Chevron’s disastrous impact in the Amazon region, which has led to massive environmental destruction and thousands of contamination-related deaths. From the 1960s to the 1990s, Chevron (then Texaco) released massive amounts of oil waste into the waterways that the indigenous communities rely on for drinking water and fishing. 

Speaking from Brussels this week, Ms Boylan said:

“This week an Ecuadorean delegation including victims of Chevron-Texaco visited the European parliament to raise awareness of their struggle for justice against Chevron. 

“First and foremost these communities are demanding the right to water – safe, drinkable water that requires Chevron to clean up the toxic waste it has left behind in Ecuador. Drinking contaminated water has led to thousands of unnecessary deaths in the polluted regions, many of them from stomach cancer.

“After a 20-year legal battle, the oil giant is refusing to pay compensation of US$9.5 billion to the victims, as it was ordered to by Ecuador’s Supreme Court in 2013. 

“To add insult to injury, Chevron then sued the state of Ecuador under an investor-state dispute settlement mechanism, claiming the state had violated a Bilateral Investment Treaty – and demanded compensation from the Ecuadorean government.

“The Ecuadorean activists warned European legislators of the dangers of signing up to the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the US, which will include an ISDS mechanism.

“Multinationals cannot be allowed to trample on the rights of communities and the environment with impunity.

“From the European parliament, Sinn Fein and other progressive representatives will be backing this campaign for justice, including calling for the enforcement of the Ecuadorean judgement and urging European pension funds to divest from Chevron.

 “Chevron also has interests in Ireland through Texaco, and the Irish government should use its influence here to pressure Chevron to accept the judgement of Ecuador’s Supreme Court and pay its victims compensation for its grossly negligent practices.” 

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