INDIGENOUS RESISTANCE IN PERU
Indigenous leaders in Peru have issued an official statement condemning the government for not adhering to laws regarding issues that affect the Indigenous population. Peru’s government is currently negotiating with Frontera Energy, an oilbased Canadian energy firm, on renewing a 30-year contract.
The leaders, who represent more than 100 Indigenous communities, referenced a law passed in 2011 that requires the government to consult these communities before implementing decisions that might impact their territories. However, Ángela Acevedo, the Director of Indigenous Peoples Rights at Peru’s Vice Ministry of Intercultural Affairs argues that while the law is in effect, the state still “takes the final decision.”
The Indigenous leaders, meanwhile, consider the negotiations an unlawful violation of their rights. To protest the government’s action, the Indigenous communities are threatening to prevent the oil firms from accessing their land if a valid consultation with the communities does not take place.
Added to the tribal rights issue is the concern over oil spills in the region. The United Nations special rapporteur on hazardous substances and wastes stressed the importance of dealing with the existing environmental hazards before issuing any new deals or contracts that may further exacerbate the issue. Additionally, the rapporteur emphasized that the Indigenous peoples’ concerns should be included when making decisions such as these, because oil spills have been proven to contaminate water to a point that can cause poisoning and death.