Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Ashanika protesting in 2010 in Peru -- photo by David Dudenhoefer

In the past Peru has been the scene of many clashes as development and extraction encroaches on indigenous lands. In 2009, it turned bloody and violent.

Thus, today's notice from Amazon Watch is most welcome: Peruvian Congress Passes Indigenous Peoples Consultation Law

Amazon Watch says:
"Peru's indigenous movement deserves tremendous credit for their persistent advocacy.... They provided constructive input into the bill's draft text last year and then lobbied vociferously after President Garcia offered eight line-item vetoes." 
Wisely, the Indians ask, "will government and industry implement in it good faith?"
San Francisco, CA – The Peruvian National Congress has taken an important step by unanimously passing a law requiring consultation with indigenous peoples. The law states that indigenous peoples have a right to prior consultation around legislative and administrative measures in addition to being consulted around plans, programs, and projects that impact their collective rights, whether that be physical existence, cultural identity, quality of life, or development. Newly elected President Ollanta Humala has 15 days to sign and approve the new law.

"This is an important step in recognizing the rights of indigenous peoples in Peru which have been trampled on for centuries by the Peruvian state and especially by the last administration," said AIDESEP, Peru's largest indigenous Amazonian federation, in a statement in response to news of the Consultation Law passing.

While AIDESEP expressed support for the new law, the organization also expressed concern about implementation "until [the government agency INDEPA, the National Organization for the Development of Andean, Amazonian and Afro Peruvian Peoples truly implements this new law, we will not be caught in false triumphs." 

"Time will tell if the law will be honored by government and extractive industries bent on exploiting natural resources on indigenous lands," said Amazon Watch Executive Director Atossa Soltani, expressing hopes that passage of the law signals a historic shift in Peru's political culture. "This is a historic advance for respect of the rights of the country's indigenous peoples."

Read the full release.

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