A GUE/NGL delegation has visited the Lago Agrio region in Ecuador where Chevron-Texaco committed the most dramatic ecological crime in the country’s history.

Chevron-Texaco dumped 18 billion gallons of toxic waste in the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador which polluted waters and severely contaminated the soil, resulting in an increase in cancer rates, cultural upheaval and devastation of biodiversity.

The affected communities have organised themselves since 1993 and called on Texaco – and its parent company Chevron – to clean up the area and provide care for those affected.

In February 2011, an Ecuadorian court ordered Chevron to pay 9 billion USD in compensation, but Chevron has not yet paid.
An activist from UDAPT (the indigenous resistance organisation in the Lago Agrio region which sued the company) accompanied MEP Helmut Scholz and MEP Lola Sanchez to explore the area and observe the serious ecological problems that oil exploration has created.
German MEP, Helmut Scholz comments: “We express our solidarity with those affected by, and the communities that are resisting, the Texaco/Chevron environmental crimes.” 
“Corporate impunity on human rights violations and environmental crimes is the result of the lack of regulation on international investments and international trade.
“All trade and investment agreements signed by the EU with third countries must include binding clauses on sustainable development and human rights in order to ensure transnational companies’ accountability. They should also include remedies in cases of violations of national laws and constitutional obligations by transnational and national corporations.”
Spanish MEP, Lola Sanchez, adds: “The resistance communities of Lago Agrio are an example of the fight against corporate impunity.”

“This case highlights the urgent need to develop an international legally binding treaty on business and human rights to curb business impunity.
“The EU must play a proactive role within the United Nations’ process, which is led by Ecuador, towards an international legally binding instrument that ends corporate impunity on human rights violations and environmental crimes,” Sanchez concludes.

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