Pedro Castillo's first-round victory surprised the country and the region. The rural teacher has an ability to represent the Indigenous and peasant identity while also personifying a discourse of change. As the run-off approaches, Keiko Fujimori has been unable to shake off her father's image of corruption and ensuing destabilization in recent years. The latest surveys show Castillo polling double the voting intentions of Alberto Fujimori’s daughter and he is preparing to transform an economy marked by inequality.
Indigenous peoples in Peru
There are 4 million indigenous peoples in Peru, who are comprised of 55 groups speaking 47 languages. Peru voted in favour of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007 and has ratified ILO Convention 169. However, the country’s indigenous population are still struggling with extractive activities, such as oil spills and oil palm cultivation, on their territory.
Indigenous peoples in Peru
According to the 2007 Census, Peru’s population includes more than 4 million indigenous persons, of whom 83.11% are Quechua, 10.92% Aymara, 1.67% Ashaninka, and 4.31% belong to other Amazonian indigenous peoples. The Database of Indigenous or Original Peoples notes the existence in the country of 55 indigenous peoples who speak 47 indigenous languages.
21% of Peru’s territory consists of mining concessions, which are superimposed upon 47.8% of the territory of peasant communities. Similarly, 75% of the Peruvian Amazon is covered by oil and gas concessions.
Peru’s Constitution stipulates that the official languages are Spanish and, in areas where they are predominant, Quechua, Aymara and other aboriginal languages. According to the Ministry of Culture, there are 47 indigenous and native languages in the country. Almost 3.4 million people speak Quechua and 0.5 million Aymara. Both languages are predominant in the Coastal Andes area.
Main challenges for Peru’s indigenous peoples
Extractive activities, such as oil spills and oil palm cultivation, and climate change, such as drought and forest fires, are the main threats to native communities and the huge variety of ecosystems and a great wealth of natural resources in Peru.
Currently, 21% of Peru’s territory consists of mining concessions, which are superimposed upon 47.8% of the territory of peasant communities. Similarly, 75% of the Peruvian Amazon is covered by oil and gas concessions.This overlapping of rights to communal territories, the enormous pressure being exerted by the extractive industries, the lack of territorial cohesion and absence of effective prior consultation are all exacerbating territorial and socio-environmental conflicts in Peru.
Watch how the road expansion into the Madre de Dios region in Peru and the following invasion of illegal loggers, miners and plantations is affecting indigenous peoples living in the area as the deforestation and pollution are destroying their traditional way of living.
Case: Wampis sovereignty
Despite the fact that indigenous peoples have not been at the heart of public debate recently, some encouraging news came in 2016 the form of the consolidation of the Autonomous Territorial Government of the Wampis Nation (GTANW). The project first saw the light of day in November 2015 with a collective demonstration for autonomy from the Peruvian state on the part of the Wampis people. The Wampis nation achieved jurisdictional sovereignty over their territory of 1,300,000 hectares of land located in the Loreto and Amazonas regions, which they are protecting from outside interest in their natural resources.
The case formed a milestone in indigenous sovereignty as the constitution of this autonomous government forces the Peruvian state to recognise their independence within their own territorial boundaries. Now, the Kandozi and Chapra peoples have announced similar plans.
Watch are short movie about The Wampis Nation and the making of their congress here
The protests spread to all the neighborhoods of Lima and cities of the country. Photo: Vidal Carrasco
It is difficult to explain what happened in our country to outsiders. Even in the country, we are not able to grasp the dimension of the events. The facts are clear, they are vicious and they hurt: two young men murdered, Bryan Pintado and Inti Sotelo; dozens of protesters wounded; excessive force used and shots fired aiming at people’s bodies; enforced disappearances; sexual abuse and torture; mass arrests. So many crimes committed by the State, so much pain in less than a week. There is only one thing to hope for: for the first time in the history of Peru, hundreds of thousands of young people took to the streets to protest against the unconstitutional removal of the Peruvian president.
The surprising link between the fight against drugs, land dispossession and attacks on Indigenous rights defenders in Peru
Arbildo Meléndez Grandes was killed while out hunting and fishing to provide for his family. Photo: Aidesep.
Despite its function being to fight drug trafficking, the National Commission for Development and Life without Drugs (DEVIDA) has been financing the titling of lands claimed by Indigenous People in favour of individuals who indiscriminately cut down forests and practice illegal agriculture. Far from providing a response, the public body denies all responsibility, instead of shifting it onto regional governments. Meanwhile, attacks on Indigenous leaders and harassment of Amazonian communities are mounting.
According to the 2007 Census, there are more than 4 million Indigenous people in Peru: 83.11% are Quechua, 10.92% Aymara, 1.67% Asháninka and 4.31% belong to other Amazonian Indigenous peoples. The Indigenous or Native Peoples Database (BDPI) reports the existence of 55 Indigenous peoples in the country speaking 47 Indigenous languages.
On the other hand, 21% of the national territory is covered by mining concessions, and these overlap with 47.8% of the territory of the peasant communities. Furthermore, 75% of the Peruvian Amazon is covered by hydrocarbon concessions. The overlapping of rights to communal territories, the enormous pressure from the extractive industries, the absence of land-use planning and the lack of any effective implementation of prior consultation are all exacerbating territorial and socio-environmental conflicts in Peru, a country that has signed and ratified Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and which voted in favour of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007.
Prior consultation for lot 192 in 2015. Photo: PUINAMUDT.
In Peru, the Bagua Massacre prompted the adoption of the ILO Convention 169 in response to local demands and international pressure. However, far from respecting the communities’ decision, this has led to simulations of consultations that prevent the Indigenous Peoples from exercising their right to autonomy and self-determination. The consultation process, as outlined by the State, has become a threat.
According to the 2007 Census, there are more than four million Indigenous persons in Perú: 83.11% Quechuas, 10.92% Aymaras, 1.67% Asháninkas and 4.31% belonging to other Amazonian Indigenous Peoples. The Database of Indigenous or Native Peoples (BDPI) notes the existence of 55 Indigenous Peoples at present, who speak 47 Indigenous languages in the country.