Children of the Jaguar Documentary

On October 8th, the full length “Children of the Jaguar” documentary was screened online by Amazon Watch. Filmed and co-produced by the Kichwa of Sarayaku in the Ecuadorian Amazon and Amnesty International, “Children of the Jaguar” won a National Geographic award last month. The documentary recounts the successful international legal battle against their country for allowing foreign oil exploration on their land without their consent. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ruling, made public in July of this year, ended a decade-long legal battle by the Sarayaku after a foreign oil company was allowed to encroach on their traditional lands in the early 2000s without consultation with the Sarayaku.

An all too familiar experience among indigenous people in the Americas and the world over, many suffer the consequences of extractive industries in their lands without prior consultation or consent. The Sarayaku victory makes it clear that an indigenous community – and all communities for that matter – must be consulted on potential projects in their territories.  As Fernanda Doz Costa, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the Americas, says, “it establishes in detail how consultation should be undertaken: in good faith, through culturally appropriate procedures that are aimed at reaching consent. Thus, exploration or extraction of natural resources cannot be done at the expense of an indigenous community’s means of physical or cultural survival on their own land.”

Look for Children of the Jaguar at film festivals before its wider release in 2013.