PUBLIC DENUNCIATION: DANGER OF GENOCIDE IN THE PERUVIAN AMAZON!
WE REJECT PERENCO OIL COMPANY’S INTENTIONS TO DENY THE EXISTENCE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES LIVING IN ISOLATION, PUTTING THEIR RIGHTS TO LIFE, HEALTH, AND INTEGRITY AT RISK
The Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest (AIDESEP),
August 8, 2022
The Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest (AIDESEP), which represents 9 regional organizations, 109 federations and more than 2,400 Indigenous communities, addresses the President of the Republic, the Congress of the Republic, the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (PCM), the Ministry of Culture, The Office of the Ombudsman, the Commission of Amazonian, Andean, Afro-Peruvian Peoples, Environment and Ecology of the Congress of the Republic (CPAAAE), the Regional Government of Loreto, the national and international human rights organizations, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH), the authorities of the Catholic Church and other churches in Peru, the member countries of the Joint Declaration of Intent (DCI), the national and international community, and the press media to declare the following:
After a long and sustained struggle for more than nineteen years, on July 25, the Multisectoral Commission of Law No. 28736, Law for the Protection of Indigenous Peoples in Isolation and Initial Contact (PIACI), evaluated and approved the Prior Recognition Study (EPR) concerning the requested Napo-Tigre Indigenous Reserve, located in the provinces of Maynas and Loreto (department of Loreto). This resounding decision was made with 13 votes in favor and only 2 against (corresponding to the Regional Government of Loreto and the Ministry of Energy and Mines, institutions that reportedly have shown strong economic interests in the territories of our brothers and sisters in isolation). It is noteworthy that all the other ministries and institutions that are members of the Multisectoral Commission voted in favor of the approval of the EPR, as well as the municipal governments of the provinces of Maynas and Loreto.
With the approval of the EPR, the Multisectoral Commission officially recognized the existence of the Indigenous Peoples in Isolation (PIA) of the Aewa, Taushiro, Tagaeri, Taromenane, and Zaparo peoples in the territory of the requested Napo-Tigre Indigenous Reserve. This decision was made based on the 292 official, reliable and scientifically rigorous evidences that irrefutably demonstrate their existence. These evidences are part of strictly confidential official studies, carried out in the field and cabinet, in accordance with the provisions of the law.
The Judiciary, based on a ruling issued in 2018 by the Fourth Constitutional Court of the Superior Court of Justice of Lima, orders the Ministry of Culture to immediately arrange for the Multisectoral Commission to submit the Prior Recognition Study (EPR) and to issue the respective Supreme Decrees that acknowledge the existence of Indigenous Peoples in Isolation and declare the Indigenous Territorial Reserve, among others, so that the Peruvian State complies with the creation of the Napo-Tigre Indigenous Reserve (File N.° 12798-2016).
There are more than 20 neighboring Indigenous communities that actively support the creation of the Napo Tigre Indigenous Reserve and the protection of the Indigenous Peoples in Isolation. This is also supported by their representative organizations, which also form part of AIDESEP and the Regional Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the East (ORPIO): The Kichwaruna Wangurina Organization of the Upper Napo (ORKIWAN), the Federation of Indigenous Communities of the Tigre River (FECONAT) and the Federation of Indigenous Communities of the Middle Napo, Curaray and Arabela (FECONAMNCUA).
We reject and express our deep concern for the actions of the oil company Perenco Peru Petroleum, which by means of a lawsuit filed against the Ministry of Culture, has petitioned the nullification of the Favorable Qualification given to the request for the creation of the Napo-Tigre Indigenous Reserve, and is also asking to be incorporated into the process that evaluates the creation of this reserve.
With this lawsuit, the oil company seeks to improperly block a procedure that protects a legitimate claim whose sole purpose is to guarantee the life, health, and integrity of the Indigenous Peoples in Isolation, one of the most vulnerable human groups on the planet. This lawsuit was filed and admitted in June by the Sixth Constitutional Court of the Superior Court of Justice of Lima.
In addition, the company’s request for its inclusion in the process of creating the Napo-Tigre Indigenous Reserve constitutes a clear and manifest conflict of interest, since Oil Blocks 39 and 67, operated by Perenco, overlap with the territory of the Indigenous Peoples in Isolation.
It is important to point out that the manifested opposition to the creation of the Napo-Tigre Indigenous Reserve by the three communities mentioned by Perenco (grouped in the Federation of Indigenous Communities of Alto Curaray and Arabela – FECONACA) can be explained by the direct benefits that these communities would obtain from the operation of the oil block.
We consider it very alarming and revealing that the Public Prosecutor’s Office has stated in a news article that both the former president of FECONACA and the president of one of the communities opposed to the Napo-Tigre Indigenous Reserve proposal are fugitives from justice because they are being investigated as suspected members of the criminal organization “Los Duros del Amazonas” (“The Amazon Toughs”) for the crimes of illegal trafficking of timber and illicit association for criminal purposes. If these charges are confirmed, it would reveal that the true interests of some of the members of this organization in gaining access to the territories of the Indigenous Peoples in Isolation of the requested Napo-Tigre Indigenous Reserve, putting their life, health, and integrity at serious risk.
Both AIDESEP and ORPIO have been promoting the protection of the fundamental rights of Indigenous Peoples in Isolation and in Initial Contact, as well as the creation of Indigenous Territorial Reserves that have been delayed for decades. This has been sought through all the appropriate legal mechanisms and appealing to all the national and international bodies responsible for guaranteeing the fundamental human rights of indigenous peoples, especially when dealing with groups of special vulnerability and defenselessness such as the PIACI.
We demand that the foreign company Perenco respects the fundamental rights of our brothers and sisters, the Indigenous Peoples in Isolation of the requested Napo-Tigre Indigenous Reserve, whose existence has been formally recognized by the Peruvian State. Likewise, we urge the State to ensure that the process of creating the Napo-Tigre Indigenous Reserve follows its proper course, in strict compliance with current regulations and respecting the international standards on the matter.
We exhort the oil company Perenco, as well as its investors and partners, to respect the national and international legal framework in favor of the Indigenous Peoples in Isolation, otherwise we will initiate all necessary legal actions (national and international) to guarantee the life, health, and integrity of our brothers and sisters the Indigenous Peoples in Isolation of the requested Napo-Tigre Indigenous Reserve.