On the 8th August 2018 the Autonomous Territorial Government of the Wampis nation in Peru, in representation of its communities on the Morona river, issued a statement rejecting the efforts of Chilean energy company Geopark to misrepresent the position of the Wampis people in regards to the exploitation of resources from Oil block 64. The company attempted to override the democratic structures established by the Wampis on behalf of the entire nation, through the formation of a delegation from only two communities and facilitation of high level meetings with government authorities.
"The way the company is proceeding, ignoring the channel of representation established within the Wampis nation, shows that it is not a serious company, nor is it respectful of the institutions of indigenous peoples. This means that it will be equally indifferent to our rivers, forests and lands to the detriment of the collective subsistence livelihood of the Wampis in particular and of the wider population..”
"For this reason, and taking into account the disastrous consequences that extractive activities have left and continue to generate in other areas, such as the 'four watersheds’ (Corrientes, Tigre, Pastaza and Marañon rivers), we STRONGLY reject the delegation created by the company and any manipulative attitude it has adopted to weaken the Wampis communities. Similarly, we ALERT the authorities of the PCM (Peruvian cabinet), Ministry of Culture and other state entities to ensure they will not be surprised by people who assume the role of representatives without the endorsement of the Wampis nation.”
In 2015 the Wampis came together to establish the autonomous territorial government (GTANW), a new democratic organisation inspired by Wampis history and tradition to represent all Wampis people and communities on the Santiago and Morona rivers. One of the reasons behind the creation of the government was to ensure that issues such as the exploitation of oil and gas in their territory -which would affect the entire Wampis population- was a matter for consideration by the entire Wampis nation and not just by select communities or individuals. The Wampis’ constitution approved in 2015 by member communities, establishes that such decisions can only be taken by the whole Wampis nation and in accordance with international human rights law applicable in Peru, which includes requirements to secure the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of indigenous peoples. This was explained in 2015 in a message to the world by the Wampis:
"This unity will bring us the political strength we need to explain our vision to the world and to the governments and companies who only see the gold and oil in our rivers and forests. For them, too often we are like a small insect who they want to squash. Any activity planned in our territory that will affect us will now have to be decided by our own government which represents all our communities."
The Wampis are not the only indigenous people protesting at Geopark’s intention and strategies. Indigenous Achuar communities on the Pastaza river -represented by the Federation of Achuar Nation in Peru (FENAP)- who would also be affected by the proposed drilling, have for many years denounced the intentions of Geopark and Peru’s state oil company (Petroperu) and pressed for the cancellation of the proposed operations on the basis they have also failed to secure their Free, Prior and Informed Consent.
Follow this link to read the Wampis statement in full: http://nacionwampis.com/pronunciamiento-sobre-el-ingreso-de-geopark-a-la-nacion-wampis/