’Our Voices have been heard’’

’Our Voices have been heard’’

Good news! Indigenous communities in Lote 192 have won an overwhelming victory and signed an agreement with the Peruvian Government which recognizes their right to be consulted on use of their ancestral lands.

Land Rights Now has supported campaign actions related to this case for over one year –we highlighted the story of Teddy and his community during the Stand for Land campaign in September 2016, and more recently on World Indigenous People’s Day 2017 we called on the Government of Peru to respect the rights of Indigenous People. The tremendous outcry from within Peru and internationally alongside a series of peaceful protests staged by the Indigenous Communities finally paid off!

The Government of Peru had begun to negotiate a new oil contract on the ancestral land without consultation with Quechua, Achuar and Kichwa communities who live in Lote 192. The communities were not prepared to endure this – not least after the last 40-year oil concession left the area with over 2000 contaminated environmental sites. And while the current exploiters had promised to clean it, the communities continue to live with the contamination every day. To prevent this from happening again, the indigenous communities demanded that the government respect their right to Free Prior and Informed Consent and when the Government refused, they had not choice but to take direct action, staging a series of peaceful protests seizing petroleum production in Cuenca Corrientes.

The Government eventually agreed to enter into dialogue with the communities and a consensus agreement was signed with the Peruvian Government on 01 November. While not stopping oil exploration, the agreement allows the communities a say in how their ancestral land is used and prioritises their health and that of their immediate environment.

The agreement includes the following:

Right to Consultation

The indigenous communities will enter dialogue with Frontera Energy Corp., the current leaser of the area, to set up a new exploitation contract that serves all parties. Furthermore, it’s been agreed that the indigenous communities must be consulted in all new oil explorations that may impact their collective rights. These consultations must occur with due respect to their traditions, customs and social and environmental concerns.

Environment and Health

The Peruvian Government agreed to set up a commission to supervise the clean up of the contaminated sites. What’s more, in these first ten days after the signing of the agreement, the Ministry of Health will start implementation on an emergency health care program. This would finally give the Lote192 communities access to medical posts.

The signing of the consensus agreement with the Peruvian Government is an important victory not just for the indigenous communities of Lote 192 but it also sets an important precedent for other indigenous communities in Peru who are demanding that their land rights and the right to free, prior and informed consent.

‘’The communities are celebrating..they feel their voices have been heard,”’ said Aurelio Chino, President of the Native Federation of Quechuas of Pastaza (FEDIQUEP).

We will continue to stand with the Indigenous communities of Lote 192 to ensure the implementation of this agreement.

A huge thanks to everyone who stood for Land Rights Now in Peru!

Photo Credit: www.radionacional.com.pe