For 30 years, Chevron-Texaco consciously and deliberately destroyed the Ecuadorian rainforest in the provinces of Sucumbíos and Orellana, the region with the highest biodiversity on the planet, to explore for oil. During this period, documents show that Chevron dumped more than 650,000 barrels of crude oil and another 16 billion tailings into rivers and soil. At least 2,000 people have died from cancer due to toxins and polluted water and air.
Since the 1990s, there have been numerous legal attempts in various international jurisdictions to try to hold the oil company responsible for the damage caused in the Amazon. Although the Ecuadorian court ordered Chevron to pay damages in the amount of $9.5 million – which represents just 0.01% of its 2019 revenues alone –, so far, Chevron has used many tactics to evade accountability.
According to the attorney for the Union of Peoples Affected by Texaco (UDAPT) Pablo Fajardo, throughout this legal dispute, Texaco/Chevron has already hired more than 2,000 lawyers from 60 offices, in addition to carrying out a media campaign, with expenses in excess of $250 million. The oil company uses aggressive tactics to dodge lawsuits in countries around the world. To this day, those most directly affected by Chevron’s devastation in the Ecuadorian Amazon have not had access to any form of justice or compensation.
The Chevron case illustrates how transnational corporations try to evade legal responsibility to continue to operate with impunity despite serious violations of international law. This case reinforces the need for a binding international instrument that obliges companies to respect human rights while offering communities remedy, reparations, and justice.
Since 2014, Ecuador has supported the international treaty process at the United Nations, chairing the intergovernmental working group on human rights and transnational corporations.
Liability Roadmap | Case Studies – https://liabilityroadmap.org/case-studies-eng
Treaty on Transnational Corporations and Their Supply Chains with Regard to Human Rights: Treaty Text Proposal – Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power: https://bit.ly/3hWFH5I
“Chevron vs Ecuador: international arbitration and corporate impunity” – Open Democracy: https://bit.ly/375p55P
Lago Agrio Legal Team, “Summary of Independent Health Evaluations of Area of Ecuador’s Rainforest Where Chevron Operated from 1964 to 1990,” – https://bit.ly/2TolRXA