Lima, 17th May. AIDESEP, Peru’s national indigenous Amazonian peoples’ organisation, has written a letter to the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) executive directors urging them to suspend the PTRT3 project, an $80 million land titling programme, while a formal complaint about the project is ongoing.
AIDESEP continues to highlight that the project is in violation of IDB's operational procedures, including its obligations to respect international law as it fails to prioritise the recognition of indigenous peoples’ land rights in favour of securing the land rights of more than 700,000 individual agricultural landowners. While AIDESEP does not question the rights of these farmers to secure land rights, it points out that the social conflicts, deforestation and land trafficking that afflict the Peruvian Amazon are principally due to the ongoing failure of Peru’s government to legally secure the land rights of more than 1,200 indigenous communities whose traditional lands remain unprotected and vulnerable to invasion and expropriation.
“We insist that whole project is completely suspended…until a solution is found for our complaint and a consensus is reached to avoid violation of OP703 and 765. Only then once we have clear guarantees, can we move forward. As it is, the PTRT3 will become entrapped in (land) invasions and conflicts,” said Hendersen Rengifo, president of AIDESEP, in the letter to the president of the IDB, Luis Moreno and the Bank’s executive directors.
The project is already being implemented and was signed off by the IDB and its Peruvian government counterparts in February 2015 despite concerted and systematic questions that have been raised by Peru's indigenous peoples’ organisations since the project details first came to light in 2014. Finally, after numerous failed promises to integrate indigenous concerns, AIDESEP filed a formal complaint in August 2015 to the IDIB”s Independent Complaints Mechanism, the ICIM.
The complaint is now entering a formal consultation phase, due to start in mid June, during which the ICIM will facilitate dialogue between the parties to assess if an agreement can be reached. On the 2 May 2016, the ICIM published its assessment of the viability of the consultation process.
AIDESEP’s response highlights that if there is a "continued lack of political will on the part of the Ministry of Agriculture, the IDB and the Ministry of Finance to correct these obvious design flaws then they will be responsible for the failure of the consultation and the transition to the compliance and verification phase where the entire project will be paralysed while the violations are investigated and sanctioned."