Indigenous organizations in Peru declare state of emergency

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Stop assassinations, end land grabs, recognize rights to ancestral territories

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International companies are destroying forests to create palm oil plantations

The following statement was issued by thirteen Indigenous organizations from across the Peruvian Amazon, including local and regional federations from Ucayali, and the national Indigenous Peoples organization AIDESEP.

Resolution of the Extended Coordination Council of the Regional Organization of AIDESEP Ucayali – ORAU

Ucayali, Peru, 16 May 2022

We, the Presidents of the Base Federations of ORAU, Indigenous leaders of the Indigenous Peoples of the Ucayali, Huanuco and Loreto regions, gathered as part of our Extended Coordination Council (CCA), with the presence of our national organization AIDESEP, which represents nine regional decentralized organizations in the north, center and south of the Peruvian Amazon. We are human rights defenders, we protect the forest, territories and river basins. In the face of mounting pressure from the expansion of oil palm monocultures, land grabbing and trafficking, illegal mining, an increase in narcotics trafficking which is causing violence, killings and threats in our own territory, we issue this resolution:

In consideration of:

That, in 2020, 263 murders against human rights defenders were registered in Latin America, of which 202 of them happened in the countries of the Amazon basin (Colombia, Brazil, Peru and Bolivia), representing 77% of the cases.

That 69% of these murders in 2020 were against leaders working in defense of territory, the environment and the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

That in the first quarter of 2021 alone, 193 murders of Indigenous brothers and sisters (Colombia and Peru) who defended the rights of Indigenous Peoples and Mother Nature have been recorded.

That behind the murders of Indigenous defenders of human rights and Mother Nature, there are structural problems directly linked to the advance of extractive activities that respond to the interests of corporations with State agreements that promote hydrocarbons extraction and indiscriminate mining, aggressive deforestation, drug trafficking, militarization and the presence of an armed conflict that has been diplomatically silenced and that threatens the physical and cultural integrity of our peoples.

That the lack of titling of Indigenous territories represents one of the greatest threats, as most of the murders have taken place because of their work in defense of the territory and their actions in favor of its titling.

That the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) has established that the loss of leaders represents damage to the social fabric of Indigenous Peoples and an express will to silence our voices, thus disrupting the organization and organizational structure by hindering the ability to express concerns about issues affecting our communities.

In view of the above and the evident violation of the human rights of Indigenous Peoples in the Ucayali region and other Amazonian regions, WE RESOLVE:

  1. We declare an emergency and red alert our ancestral territories for 120 days. During the emergency, the entry of outsiders is prohibited, except for representatives of allied organizations and duly accredited representatives of the Peruvian State.
  2. We condemn the acts of manipulation and bad faith of the company Ocho Sur PSAC, which seeks to generate division within the Santa Clara de Uchunya community, undermining the organizational structure and good relations between its Indigenous organizations (FECONAU, ORAU, AIDESEP). We demand that the Peruvian State impose on the company all the sanctions and the weight of our laws for the land trafficking, deforestation, environmental and cultural damage that it has been causing in the traditional territory of the Santa Clara de Uchunya community. We warn our grassroots communities not to be surprised by the entry of pseudo-leaders into their territories, because in reality they are operators of the company, who carry out this type of work for personal interests.
  3. We demand that the Peruvian State prioritize and ensure the legal recognition of the ancestral territories of Indigenous Peoples through the granting and registration of land titles. This is a fundamental right recognized by the provisions of ILO Convention 169, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Political Constitution of Peru itself. In this sense, we demand that the Regional Government of Ucayali continue with the second territorial expansion of Santa Clara de Uchunya until full legal protection is assured, in order to avoid indiscriminate land trafficking in the region.
  4. We demand that the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Culture take concrete and immediate measures to put an end to the assassinations and criminalization of Indigenous leaders and frontline human rights defenders. The ministries must address the structural problems that threaten the Indigenous peoples of the Amazon.
  5. We demand that the Peruvian State urgently ratify the Escazu Agreement and provide protection for the orphaned children of the murdered Indigenous human rights defenders.
  6. We demand of the Ministry of Education: that, for the allocation of Intercultural Bilingual Education (EIB) positions for management positions and teaching contracts, the teacher should be fluent in the native language of the community or Indigenous People to which he/she belongs to the region, as indicated in the General Law of Education No. 28044 and the Law for Intercultural Bilingual Education No. 27818. We also reject the process of re-categorization of bilingual educational institutes initiated by the MINEDU, which in practice means the reduction of bilingual schools, harming thousands of children from native communities, thus violating the right to receive a quality education with an intercultural approach.

Signed by the following Indigenous organizations:

  • Native Federation of Cacataibo Communities  – FENACOCA
  • Federation of Native Communities of Lower Ucayali – FECONBU
  • Federation of Indigenous Communities of Padre Marquez District – FECIDPAM
  • Federation of Native Communities of Iparia District – FECONADIT
  • Federation of Native Communities of Ucayali and Affluents – FECONAU
  • Federation of Native Communities of Puerto Inca – FECONAPIA
  • Federation of Native Communities of the Pisqui River Basin – FECOIR
  • Association of Ashaninka Native Communities of Masisea and Calleria – ACONAMAC
  • Federation of Native Communities of the Purus Province – FECONAPU
  • Organization of Native Communities of Tahuania District – ORDECONADIT
  • Federation of Ashaninka Native Communities of Sheshea – Iparia – FECONASHI
  • Regional Organisation of AIDESEP Ucayali – ORAU
  • The Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest – AIDESEP

Thanks to the Forest Peoples Programme for sharing this declaration.