Deep in the Amazon rainforest in Peru, indigenous communities have lived off their lands for generations. But for over 45 years, they have been devastated by the consequences of oil exploitation on their lands without the communities' consent. Perhaps you remember the story of Teddy and his community: petroleum seeped into their water and food affecting their health and the Peruvian government seems not to care.
As Teddy says: “This land was inherited from our fathers. Now it is our time, and soon it will be the next generation’s time. But we live with the knowledge that the government might again license our territory out to oil companies at any time.”
“For us, it’s important to be given formal land titles, not so that we can feel like owners, but to protect our territory,” he says.
But we can show the government that we care. Join the call to the President to put indigenous rights before profits.
The government has been negotiating new oil contracts for this “Lote 192 area” without consulting the community and without guaranteeing the environmental rights of its people. Pluspetrol, the previous company, is leaving behind over 2,000 contaminated sites, ignoring its environmental obligations and duties. Not only has the government failed to take action to ensure the mess from the previous company is cleaned up, they are also disregarding the right of the community to free, prior and informed consent in the negotiations on the new contract. In the words of Carlos Sandi, an indigenous leader, "the State must put our rights before business and profits.”
We think this situation has gone on for far too long, and the United Nations agrees with us. The special rapporteur responsible for hazardous waste management strongly recommended that all negotiations are immediately suspended, until the government steps up to guarantee indigenous rights are respected in the three communities affected by the oil operations.
The United Nations Group for Business and Human Rights has also expressed serious concern about the shocking state in which Pluspetrol has left the indigenous lands, without a clean-up plan. They urge the company and government to take action now.
Take action on land rights in Peru
Join us and tell the Peruvian government that this indifference has gone on long enough. The President of Peru, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, has an obligation to respect indigenous people’s right to free, prior and informed consent and the right to live in a healthy environment.
Write to him on Twitter now and tell him that the world cares. Tell him you will not tolerate indifference any longer. #LandrightsNow #Lote192
This entry published by Julie Byrnes, Oxfam in Peru, on 7 August 2017.
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Read more about Oxfam’s analysis on land and inequality in Latin America in Spanish.