BY PUINAMUDT FOR DEBATES INDÍGENAS
Oil exploitation in the region of Loreto has affected the environment, the roles of the ecosystems, health, and the ways of life of indigenous communities. The Quechua, Achuar, Urarina, Kichwa, and Kukama peoples, together known as the Puinamudt organization, are fighting for their right to prior consultation to be respected in view of the forthcoming concession for an operator to exploit Lot 192.
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.