AIDESEP and three of its regional organizations have issued a statement urging the government to abandon plans to expand gas operations in the Camisea region in the south-east of the country, saying expansion threatens the ‘physical and cultural survival’ of indigenous peoples living in ‘voluntary isolation’ and could lead to their ‘massive extermination.’
The statement, issued by AIDESEP, FENAMAD, ORAU and COMARU on 2 November, highlights the fact that further gas operations in Camisea contravenes domestic Peruvian law, an agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank, the United Nations’ Declaration on Indigenous Peoples´ Rights, promises made by president Ollanta Humala Tasso before coming to power, and international law in the form of the International Labour Organization´s Convention 169. Energy projects, the organizations state, must comply with respect for human rights and the environment: ‘We urge the government to establish policies protecting isolated peoples that are based on respect for indigenous Amazonians’ view of the world rather than the extraction of natural resources.’
AIDESEP, FENAMAD, ORAU AND COMARU UNITE TO REJECT GOVERNMENT POLICY TO EXTERMINATE ISOLATED INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
Indigenous peoples from the Peruvian Amazon urge the government not to pursue policies that will exterminate isolated indigenous peoples
In response to the expansion of exploration and development in ‘San Martin Este’ in Lot 88 by Pluspetrol Corporation S.A., the Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Amazon (AIDESEP) and three of its regional organizations, the Native Federation of the River Madre de Dios and Tributaries (FENAMAD), AIDESEP’s Regional Organization in Ucayali (ORAU) and the Matsigenka Council of the River Urubamba (COMARU), inform indigenous peoples and the national and international public of the following:
1 Ministerial Resolution No. 0046-90-AG/DGRAAR established the State Territorial Reserve for the Kugapakori, Nahua, Nanti and other ethnic groups in voluntary isolation and initial contact. Subsequently, the protected status of this reserve was increased by Supreme Decree No. 028-2003-AG which prohibited any kind of economic activity in the region and was part of a loan agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) on the grounds that expansion would ‘affect isolated peoples’ territorial rights, which are essential in ensuring their continued physical and cultural survival.’
2 Promoting investments in energy projects does not have to violate the fundamental rights of indigenous peoples in isolation or initial contact, who, as has been made clear by the contact forced on them in recent years, are extremely vulnerable. Although it is necessary to meet the national demand for energy over the coming decades, this must be done in accordance with social and environmental obligations and respecting the rights of the most vulnerable indigenous peoples, as stipulated in our Constitution, the International Labour Organization’s Convention 169, and the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
3 Given this, the indigenous organizations signing this statement urge president Ollanta Humala Tasso’s government to honour chapter 7 of its ‘Government Plan 2011-2016′, titled ‘Social Policies, Human Rights, Living Safely and Social Harmony.’ Clause B of paragraph 7.3.4 ‘Policies for the social inclusion of the Indigenous Population’ states: ‘ensure that indigenous peoples can participate in the decision-making processes incumbent on them, establishing mechanisms which make it obligatory to CONSULT them about any activity in their territories.’
4 It is within this context, and in order to comply strictly with the legislation protecting the principle of intangibility and peoples in voluntary isolation and initial contact (e.g. the rights to life, rights to land and rights to self’-determination), that we urge the government to establish policies protecting isolated peoples that are based on respect for indigenous Amazonians’ view of the world rather than the extraction of natural resources, which president Humala himself criticised so heavily before assuming power.
5 Consequently, the signatories of this statement will reinitiate a process of national and international awareness-raising by using the legal system and the media to ensure that the Executive, in this case the Ministry of Energy, abandons its plans to expand operations in Lot 88, which would mean the massive extermination of isolated peoples living in their ancestral territories.
Lima, 2 November 2012.