• Indigenous peoples in Peru

    Indigenous peoples in Peru

    There are 4 million indigenous peoples in Peru, who are comprised by some 55 groups speaking 47 languages. In 2007, Peru voted in favour of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Peoples

    4 million of Peru’s 28.2 million inhabitants are indigenous peoples
    55 different indigenous groups speaking 47 indigenous and native languages constitute Peru’s indigenous peoples
  • Land rights

    21 per cent of the national territory is covered by mining concessions overlapping with 47.8 per cent of the territory of peasant communities


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  


Special Rapporteurs discuss impact of free trade agreements in Peru

Successive UN Special Rapporteurs on the rights of indigenous peoples have expressed serious concerns in relation to the growing negative impacts of foreign investment on rights of indigenous peoples worldwide.

These investments often involve extraction of natural resources and large scale infrastructure projects in or near the territories of indigenous peoples and have been associated with violations of the land and resource, participation, consultation, consent, self-determination and cultural rights of indigenous peoples. In a number of cases they threaten the very cultural and physical survival of these peoples.

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The role of Kechua Lamas midwives in Peru

The Kechua Lamas are an indigenous people living in the San Martin region of the Peruvian Amazon. The local midwives play a vital role in the endurance of their cultural heritage by carrying on traditional practices. They are the godmothers and advisors during pregnancy and childbirth, and throughout the parenting process they continue to put into practice knowledge that has been passed on by their ancestors.

In this series produced by the Waman Wasi organization, we will learn how the Kechua Lamas value and conserve their ancestral traditions through their midwives (in Spanish only):

Peru: Indigenous organizations to present climate change agenda

The national organizations assembled in the Unity Pact of Indigenous Organizations of Peru convened a meeting to present their vision, proposals and agenda on climate change, put together by the indigenous peoples, as well as their mobilization and advocacy strategy gearing towards the COP 20.

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Peru: Indigenous women address critical role in combatting climate change

More than 60 Indigenous Women from Across the World Come Together to Address their Critical Role in Combating Climate Change.

At an international forum on community land and resource rights which took place 15 and 16 July, women from across the world called for inclusion of indigenous women’s perspectives and participation in the dialogue around national and international climate change adaption and mitigation policies.

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Peru: Women raise their voice against climate change

They call for all of those committed to a better future to participate in the upcoming Peoples Climate Summit to be held in Lima, parallel to the official COP20.

A National Conference of Women for Climate Justice in Defense of Mother Earth signed a statement to raise struggle proposals at national and global levels.

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IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights. Read more.

Indigenous World

IWGIA's global report, the Indigenous World, provides an update of the current situation for indigenous peoples worldwide. Read The Indigenous World.

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