Germany must help to protect the Yasuní Park and the Waorani Indians

Money for Ecuador instead of oil production in the rainforest:

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) appeals to the Budget Committee of the Bundestag to provide funds for Ecuador to help to protect of the Waorani Indians and the Yasuní National Park. Ecuador has offered to give up oil productions in the biosphere for a compensation payment of 100 million $. "The Indians cannot survive without the unique richness of the Yasuní park, which they have cared for over the centuries. We must show deep respect for their unique culture and find a way to save them," said the STP-consultant Sarah Reinke on Thursday at a rally in Berlin, where the Budget Committee held the meeting. The rally was organized together with Save the Rain Forest and the National Board of the Young Greens. In 2008, the German Bundestag had agreed to participate in the compensation payments to Ecuador. Development Minister Dirk Niebel had shortly and unexpectedly withdrawn this offer.

Today, there are about 2,000 Waorani - including the two smaller isolated groups of the Tagaeri and Taromenane living in Yasuní Park - where Ecuador's largest oil field, the Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT), is still untapped. As they have completely avoided any contact to the outside world, they managed to protect themselves from external diseases and to preserve their unique culture and lifestyle.

The Waorani have been endangered for decades. The Yasuní Park was set up in 1979 like an oasis surrounded by oil-production regions that already reach right up to the parks borders. Again and again, the Indians were assaulted and even murdered. They are not only threatened by the destructive oil production but also by illegal logging.

The indigenous people have asked the STP for help several times, for example in 2008 when the community of Quiwaro wrote to the human rights group in Göttingen: "We informed the government that there are illegal loggers in our area and that oil is leaking from the oil wells and contaminating the rivers. But nobody took care of our problems. The state doesn't manage to control the timber mafia - even though it is responsible for the deaths of some Waorani." At least five Waorani were murdered in the Yasuní National Park on February 10, 2008.