We are making a unique film, to be presented at the International Criminal Court, showcasing the role of indigenous people in the global shift towards protecting the rights of nature. This film was commissioned by Polly Higgins in her last few months on Earth. We asked for her advice in helping the Sarayaku people of Ecuador and she encouraged us to find the ways and means to make a film which would tell their story of resistance to cultural ecocide and in turn, would strengthen her Stop Ecocide campaign.
So far we have traveled to Ecuador and captured amazing footage of the Sarayaku people in the Amazon Rainforest (Sarayaku means river of corn).
We now need £7,000 to complete the filming here in the UK and to carry out the editing. Please help us get there.
The Sarayaku tribe of Ecuador won a legal fight in 2012 at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to protect their land from oil extraction. They then presented a Living Forest Declaration (Kawsak Sacha ) to the government of Ecuador, which describes their understanding of the inter-connectedness of all things in nature and the place of humans within this. The Sarayaku are strong, organised and fearless. Their prophesy states that they will be as a beacon of light as strong as the midday sun in the fight against the unfolding global environmental crisis. We are making this film to give them a platform and to make their voice heard. They, like all Earth Protectors, require legal means to protect the land from serious harm: an international Ecocide law. For the Sarayaku, every new government regime poses a threat to the security of their legal protection. They have been guarding the lungs of the planet for all of us. We need to step up and play our part now.
Ecocide is defined as serious loss, damage or destruction of ecosystems, including climate or cultural damage as well as direct ecological damage.
Despite being prevalent across the globe, Ecocide is not currently a punishable offence recognised in law. Because of this, extractive industries such as oil drilling, logging and mining are able to act in their own interests without being held accountable for the destruction and devastation they cause.
The Earth Protectors movement supports the establishment of an international crime of Ecocide. Polly Higgins' non-profit organisation has been working with a team of lawyers to facilitate proposing its inclusion in the Rome Statute, the governing document of the International Criminal Court.
After working for many years to protect the rights of the Earth, Polly became ill in the early part of this year and died shortly after receiving a devastating cancer diagnosis in March. Her colleagues plan to continue with Polly's wish to present this film at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the end of 2019. It will be viewed by the delegates from the 120 countries that are signed up to the ICC declaration. It will be critical in informing their voting potential for the proposed amendment to the Rome Statute. Once an amendment has the support of two thirds of the ICC membership it becomes international law, meaning CEOs and government ministers will be personally criminally responsible for serious loss, damage and destruction of ecosystems, and activities leading to this will no longer be permitted.
This will be the first time that an indigenous voice will be heard at the International Criminal Court on this issue.
We have beautiful, powerful footage and interviews from the Amazon. We need this funding to interview the lawyers and environmentalists who are continuing this fight and to professionally edit the film to a high standard.
By supporting this project you are supporting front line forest defenders. Help us make this film and help make Ecocide an international crime.
If you want to become an Earth Protector go to www.stopecocide.earth/become
Here is some of the footage we have collated into a short test trailer although it is not representative of the final film...