Forest Peoples Programme Supporting forest peoples’ rights

Asociación Interétnica de Desarrollo de la Selva Peruana (AIDESEP)



The history of the Indigenous Peoples of the Peruvian Amazon during the colonial period is well known. The continuity of colonial policy in many policies of the Republic of Peru is also well documented, including the dark history of the rubber trade (“cauchería”) in the early twentieth century.  What still remains largely unwritten is the history of these Amazonian Peoples and the “DEVELOPMENT POLICIES” of the Peruvian State, from 1960 up until the emergence of drug trafficking and the terrorism in the last two decades of the twentieth century.

Before AIDESEP was born, Amazonian Indigenous Peoples already had their own organisational traditions, based on their way of life and traditional practices.  The creation of their own organisations began with the support and orientation of religious groups (Catholic orders and Evangelical churches), which fell away when these facilitators left.  The first real attempts to establish autonomous organisations began as a mechanism for defence against the penetration of settlers and companies looking to exploit the Amazon’s raw materials.  These organisations were at first local or community based, but later on they joined forces to form organisations based around political regions or different river basins. The Asháninka, Amuesha and Aguaruna communities from the Alto Marañón river were the pioneers of this movement in the late 60’s and early 70’s. 

The socio-political context of the early 70’s was highly favourable to the development of Indigenous People’s Organisations. On one hand, there were convulsive social processes taking place throughout the world, and on the other hand there was a populist military government in Peru that saw the approval of the LAW OF NATIVE COMMUNITIES in 1974.  It was at this time that the process of community land titling began.  As part of this process, indigenous peoples took their organisational development one step further when, in 1979, they created the COORDINATOR OF NATIVE COMMUNITIES OF THE PERUVIAN JUNGLE (COCONASEP), which a year later became, in 1980, the INTERETHNIC ASSOCIATION OF THE PERUVIAN AMAZON (AIDESEP).

The requirements under the Law of Native Communities (1974) encouraged indigenous peoples to establish increasingly complex forms of organisation. After ten years, the formation of AIDESEP was their response. While peoples make their own history, it is also true that in each historical moment, peoples are reflected in their leaders. The first generation of AIDESEP’s founding leaders is engraved in the memory of those who know and love the history of their people in the Amazon.

With the experience gained in the struggle for self-organisation, AIDESEP’s federations or grassroots organisations have drawn up the following general objectives:

1. To represent the immediate and historical interests of all the Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon 

2. To guarantee the conservation and the development of the cultural identity, territory and values of each of the Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon.

3. To make the exercise of self-determination of indigenous peoples possible within the framework of Peruvian national law and international law.

4. To promote the human and sustainable development of Indigenous Peoples.

The Interethnic Association of the Peruvian Amazon (AIDESEP) is legally established as a not-for-profit non- governmental organisation with legal personality in private law recorded in the Public Registry of Associations of the City of Lima dated May 27, 1985 (file No. 6835, Seat A-1).

Throughout the length and breadth of the Peruvian Amazon, AIDESEP is present in six decentralised bodies in the North, Centre and South of the Amazon. These encompass 48 second level federations and territorial organisations, representing 1,340 communities of Indigenous Peoples in each of the territories of the different federations.  In these federations we find communities belonging to 64 Amazonian Indigenous Peoples, including: MAIJUNA, SECOYA, BORA, HUITOTO, YAGUA, JEBERO, ACHUAR, KICHWARUNA, WANGURINA, SHIPIBO, CACATAIBO, ASHANINCA, CASHINAHUA,SHARANAHUA, CULINA, AMAHUACA, AMARAKAERI, KECHUAS, AGUARUNA, CHAYAHUITA, COCAMA, COCAMILLA, HUAMBISA, SHAPRA,CANDOSHI, YINE, YAMI MATSIGUENGA, YANESHA, ARASAIRE, TOYOERI, HARAKMBUT, ASHENINCA, NOMATSIGUENGA, ESE- EJA, HUACHIPAERI,OCAINA, TICUNA, URARINA, YAMINAHUA, YORA, NAHUA, MURATU

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AIDESEP insists that IDB land titling programme which threatens to undermine indigenous land rights must be suspended while formal complaint is ongoing

25 May, 2016

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.

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Palm oil industry group orders company to halt Peru planting

26 April, 2016

Source: Reuters - Tue, 26 Apr 2016 00:58 GMT, Author: Reuters

LIMA, April 25 (Reuters) - A palm oil industry body on Monday ordered a member company with a 5,000 hectare (12,355 acre) concession in Peru to stop developing new plantations until it can prove it has not cleared any primary forest.

The dispute comes amid growing concerns from environmentalist and indigenous communities about the rapid expansion of oil palm plantations in the Peruvian Amazon in recent years.

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Indigenous peoples' organisation FECONAU and indigenous community present first Peruvian complaint to RSPO regarding harmful oil palm development on their lands in the Amazon region

8 December, 2015

Yarinacocha, December 5th 2015: Today on the 5th of December 2015 we, the Federación de Comunidades Nativas del Ucayali – FECONAU (Federation of Native Communities of Ucayali) representing 35 communities of the Shipibo-Konibo indigenous people from the Ucayali region and Santa Clara de Uchunya, located in Requena, Ucayali region in Peru, presented our formal complaint to the RSPO mechanism against the company Plantaciones de Pucallpa SAC, member of the RSPO.

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Peru’s failure to address indigenous peoples’ land struggle and control illegal deforestation exposes empty pledges of its government to tackle deforestation

2 November, 2015

The failure to resolve the underlying land tenure problems of indigenous peoples is one of the main factors behind the increasing deforestation in Peru as reported in a national deforestation study produced by FPP and AIDESEP and launched at the UN Climate talks held in Peru in 2014.  Peru hands over the Presidency of the climate change talks to France in Paris this year and since 2010 has made ambitious pledges to resolve indigenous peoples’ landrights struggles as part of its commitments to protect forests and mitigate climate change in which it has pledged to reduce net deforestatio

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PRESS RELEASE: Peruvian indigenous leader in London to denounce illegal deforestation of 5000 hectares of Peru’s Amazon for palm oil

2 November, 2015

London, 2nd November 2015: Robert Guimaraes Vasquez, a leader of the Shipibo-Konibo indigenous people in Peru’s Amazon has travelled to a global forum in London on business, deforestation and human rights to highlight the destruction of his people’s traditional lands by an international agribusiness group and member of the RSPO (Round Table for Sustainable Palm oil), a global body that certifies that the production and trade of palm oil is sustainable and respects human rights.

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Speaking out: Indigenous women leaders in Peru

30 September, 2015

In this video, Nery Zapata speaks about the difficulties of being a woman from a minority group in Atalaya, leading the indigenous local organization. As President of CORPIAA and Coordinator of the Veeduría, she has an important role. Reaching and remaining in her position has required self-confidence and determination, as is evidenced from her words. The video also features Patricia Cachique, an indigenous leader from the native community Boca Apinihua.

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Indigenous peoples of Peru unite to denounce imminent legal reforms that threaten land rights

28 April, 2015

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.

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IDB Land Titling Project in Peruvian Amazon Must be Redesigned to Avoid violating Indigenous Rights and Increasing Deforestation

24 February, 2015

Illegal logging camp located on the border of the Alto Purús National Park near the Sepahua River

The future of an 80 million USD land titling project in Peru, financed by the Inter American Development Bank (IDB), is on a knife-edge. AIDESEP, Peru’s national indigenous Amazonian peoples’ organisation, argues that conflicts over land and forest destruction will be intensified as a result of the initiative. Indigenous organisations have filed a petition to the Peruvian government demanding a formal process of consultation before the project proceeds.

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'Our Fight' - Defending the forest and paying the ultimate sacrifice

15 January, 2015

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.

You can find other short films on a similar issue at If Not Us Then Who:

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