“Do we have to die before the State decides to resolve our problems?"

“Do we have to die before the State decides to resolve our problems?"

On the 26th October 2017 the community of Santa Clara issued the following statement about the ongoing destruction of their lands for palm oil operations and their continued struggle for recognition of their land rights.

Extraordinary Assembly of the Indigenous Community Santa Clara de Uchunya

In the community meeting space at 7am on Thursday, October 26 2017, the community met to agree, debate and clarify several pending issues as well as to inform about the ongoing progress of legal processes. Given that the company continues operating with impunity within our community's ancestral territory, we decided to agree upon the following:

1) We ratify our demand for a land title which covers the full extension of our ancestral territory just as we have been insisting from the competent authorities. This starts on the banks of the Aguatia River continues up the Bimboya river and includes our life giving forests all the way up to the Cordillera Azul (Blue mountains)

2) We condemn the destruction of our ancestral forests as carried out by the company, Plantaciones de Pucallpa, now called OchoSUR .S.A.C. and their partners whose operations have now reached the left bank of the Aguaytia River within the heart of our ancestral territory. Despite the denunciations made before the competent authorities, [we are subject to] death threats, harassment and now displacement.

3) We denounce the death threats suffered by our leaders and community members, amongst them Carlos Hoyos Soria, James Lozano, Alex Soria, Rodith Guerra, Miguel Fasabi, Richard Fasabi, and Huber Flores Rodriguez. In this context we demand that the entire indigenous community of Santa Clara de Uchunya be provided with the necessary police protection.

4) We denounce the lack of government action to protect our lives and ancestral territory. Do we have to die before the State will decide to resolve our problems?

5) We urge the Ministry of Agriculture to enforce sanctions against the oil palm company and not issue any licenses for them to continue operating with impunity within our ancestral territory.

6) We urge the DRAU (regional land titling body) to annul the ‘certificates of possession’ (land certificates) that were illegally issued within our ancestral territory.

7) We insist that the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) issue their final report about the violations of our rights as Shipibo-Conibo indigenous people as as result of oil palm opertaions. How is it possible that the company could leave the RSPO in the middle of an investigation and not be sanctioned?

8) We reaffirm our total support for our allies FECONAU, IDL, FPP and everyone else who has been in solidarity with our struggle.

9) We condemn the recent insults and lies against our leaders and allies, as such we reaffirm that the only spokespeople of the community are our Steering Council. No other person is authorized to speak in our name.

This extraordinary assembly has wrapped up and in good faith we sign these minutes as an indication of our agreement

[58 signatures]

Document (PDF) in English and Spanish.