In mid-July, the Shipibo community of Santa Clara de Uchunya, with help from FPP, launched a crowdfunder to support urgently needed solutions in their fight to defend their forests and way of life from destruction by a palm oil company and land-trafficking gangs. The crowdfunder comes at a critical time for the community, just weeks after Carlos Hoyos Soria, the community chief, was shot at by masked men as he was gathering evidence of new forest destruction (watch Carlos’ statement following this incident here).
Forest Peoples Programme, along with the Federation of Native Communities of Ucayali (FECONAU) and Legal Defense Institute (IDL), have been assisting Santa Clara de Uchunya with landmark lawsuits and complaints to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a palm oil certification body, following the destruction of the community’s forests for conversion to oil palm by Plantaciones de Pucallpa SAC (now Ocho Sur P SAC), with the aim of holding the companies and government agencies to account. A community victory will set a powerful precedent for indigenous peoples’ struggles to reclaim their ancestral territories and decide their own futures and will mean that both communities and forests throughout the Peruvian Amazon will be better protected.
However, these solutions take time, and the community need support to stand their ground now, which is why we’re aiming to crowdfund £10,000 in four weeks for urgent measures identified by the community in the areas of transport, communications, territorial monitoring, food security and mobilisation. Learn more about exactly what the community plan to do here.
Supporters of the crowdfunder are also able to choose from a selection of perks which showcase the vibrancy of the Shipibo people’s culture, ranging from hand-embroidered cloths and jewellery to dazzling prints of artwork depicting plant spirits by renowned Shipibo artist, Lastenia Canayo Garcia.
The response so far has been inspiring, with the crowdfunder passing the 25% funded mark after the first week. This means that the community already have enough funds to purchase a boat, so that at last they can travel safely between the village and the town, without having to depend on operators associated with palm oil company. This sends a powerful message of solidarity and hope to people in Santa Clara de Uchunya, who need solutions now, even as they continue the longer fight to reclaim their territory and future.
To find out more, donate and share the crowdfunder in solidarity with Santa Clara de Uchunya, go to: https://chuffed.org/project/solutions