In a ceremony in December, the Coordinadora, which brings together 82 human rights organisations, awarded the 2017 national human rights prize to four indigenous federations that represent around 100 communities in the Amazon region. The award is for their work in support of the “dignity and rights of indigenous peoples, and for their joint work pressuring the government to get it to implement measures to remedy environmental damage in the area affected by oil exploitation in the Amazon (Lote 192).” Their contribution is recognised as going back four decades.
The award celebrates the role of indigenous mobilisation in promoting the growing understanding of the damage done by oil exploitation. Significant progress has been made since 2012 in forcing the state to recognise and document the environmental impacts of oil extraction, with a seed fund created in 2015 to help make good environmental damage.
The OEFA report and fine is illustrative of this progress. It was two of the indigenous organisations, with the support of the Instituto de Defensa Legal (IDL), that referred the case to OEFA.