Peru’s approach to conservation and natural resources is discriminatory and violates the human rights of indigenous peoples. Rather than marginalising these peoples, who have a long and varied history of conservation, conservation actors must recognise their enormous contribution to Peru’s natural heritage, and ally themselves with these communities against the true enemies of nature.
Indigenous communities very often face territorial threats which call for an agile response to avoid them escalating. In this second post of a two-part series, Miluska Elguera, who works alongside Kichwa communities in San Martin, Peru, shares how an innovative Early Response Fund mechanism is supporting grassroots responses to territorial conflicts.
The global sustainable palm oil body, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), has definitively rejected a formal complaint brought against one of its members, Peru’s largest consumer goods company, Alicorp S.A.A., for sourcing palm oil produced on a plantation which the RSPO itself has previously condemned.
In the first of a two-part blog series, Forest Peoples Programme staff member Miluska Elguera, who supports Kichwa indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon, shares two approaches which have proven important in supporting and strengthening indigenous peoples’ defence of their territories and forests.
Amazonian Peoples Denounce Dispossession, Violence and Deforestation of Indigenous Territories at UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
For the Wampis Nation in the Peruvian Amazon, protecting their territory and living well go hand in hand with reclaiming and strengthening their own ancestral knowledge, wisdom, practices and customs.
Communities in the Bajo Huallaga area of the Peruvian Amazon declared an “environmental and territorial emergency” on 16 September this year following serious and ongoing impacts on their natural resources, territories and inhabitants caused by land grabs and deforestation of their lands by loggers and palm oil companies.
On 25-26 September 2018 Indigenous peoples, Afro-descendant communities and human rights defenders from Peru and Colombia met in a binational workshop in Cauca (Colombia) with FPP and allies, including the Legal Defense Institute of Peru.
On the 7th August 2017 the Peruvian Vice Ministry of Culture issued a welcome clarification in response to a request from the Federation of native communities of Ucayali (FECONAU)
The Wampis autonomous government has issued a Supreme Order declaring the area affected the oil spill in the community of Mayuriaga to be in a state of environmental emergency.
According to Peru’s regulatory body of the environment OEFA, 1,000 barrels of oil spilled into the community land on 3 February 2016 when a 40-year-old pipeline owned by the state oil company Petroperú ruptured.
The spill affected 400m2 of land, and flowed into the Cashacaño river, which then flows into the river Morona.
Community demands immediate suspension of pipeline use
London, March 2nd 2016: On the 18th February 2016 the autonomous territorial government of the indigenous Wampis people (Wampis GTA) submitted a formal complaint to Peru’s regulatory body for the environment (OEFA) accusing the state oil company (Petroperú) of gross negligence for its failure to prevent and contain the oil spill in the Wampis community of Mayuriaga. As a preventative measure the Wampis GTA demand that the pumping of oil along a branch of the pipeline is suspended.
My name is Andres Noningo Sesen, I live in Puerto Galilea, a community in Northern Peruvian amazon. We are Wampis, one of the first peoples. Our ancestral lands cover over 1.3 million hectares of forest in the river basins of the Kanus (river Santiago) and Kanken (river Morona). We Wampis are a forest people, traditionally we lived in small groups, dispersed in the forest, hunting, fishing and gathering. It’s only recently that we have settled in large communities.
**PRESS RELEASE: For immediate Release**
The Wampis nation of the Peruvian Amazon declares the creation of the first autonomous indigenous government in Peru to defend the totality of their ancestral territory covering 1.3 million hectares of tropical forest.
The Indigenous Wampis people of the Upper Amazon in Peru are on the verge of establishing their own autonomous self governing body to control and oversee their integralterritory. The Wampis communities reject large dam, road and hydrocarbon projects in their territory, (Statements and resolutions available in Spanish only).
Click here to view the statements
In a statement published in a national newspaper, the council of AIDESEP, which represents over 1800 communities in the Peruvian Amazon called for the repeal and shelving of recent legal reforms being pushed through Peru’s parliament that threaten to further weaken indigenous peoples’ rights to land in favour of development projects.
On 1st September 2014 Edwin Chota and three indigenous Asheninka leaders were murdered while defending their forests. Through their widows, family and friends we learn about their on going fight for land titling in Peru. This story is one of many examples of Indigenous Peoples defending the forest and paying the ultimate sacrifice, launched just ahead of COP20 in Lima.
The global forest crisis is worsening and infringements of the rights of indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities are rising, according to a detailed assessment of nine country cases. Climate change mitigation and conservation policies must place community land rights and human rights centre-stage if they are to achieve the goal of sustainably reducing deforestation says the report.
The report, Revealing the Hidden: Indigenous perspectives on deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon was compiled by Peru’s national indigenous peoples’ organisation (AIDESEP) and international human rights organisation, Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) and is based on the analysis and perspectives of Peru’s indigenous leaders and organisations whose lives, lands and livelihoods are threatened by deforestation on a daily basis.