martes, 14 de abril de 2009

Regional Strike Peruvian Amazon

Amazonian Indigenous groups initiate a regional strike in the region of Madre de Dios, Peru.

More than 30 native communities in the Peruvian amazon region of Madre de Dios, represented by the Aliance of Federations in the same region, from today, 13 April 2009, will start an indefinate mobilisation and regional strike. The indigenous groups are demanding the acknowledgment of their collective and comunal territorial rights over their tradicional lands, also they demand the suspension of all land concesions which overlap their ancestral lands such as oil and gas concesiones, gold mining concesions and timber concesions.

The native communities participating in the strike include the communities Arazaeri, Barranco Chico, Diamante, El Pilar, Palma Real, Kotsimba, Shipitiare amongst others. These communities are made up of indigenous peoples from the groups Haramkbut, Yine, Shipibo, Matsigueka, and Ese Eja. These groups have been fighting for years for the recognition of their land rights, mainly through the work undertaken by elected representatives in the Native Federation of the river Madre de Dios (FENAMAD). Today many of those present have travelled long distances to get to the capital Puerto Maldonado to participate in the strike. The communities are dispersed throughout the region of Madre de Dios and some people have travelled up to two days by boat to participate. The Amazonian groups are demanding the derrogation of a number of laws or legislations such as the the DL 1089, 1010, 1054, 1090, 1064, proposed and approved by the Central Government which do not respect their dignity and run contra to their rights to “self determination” (autodetermination), that is to say, manage the way in which they develop and make their own autonomous decisions about their land use.

Despite the fact that a multidisiplinary comision from the Republic Congress was installed to analise this legislation, many months have passed since the start of discontent of the indigenous groups who had manifested in strikes, which where initiated in July and August of 2008. The talks resulted in the derrogation of two of the laws, DL 1015 and 1073, but there has been no resolution or satisfactory dialogue with respect to the rest of the laws. The laws which are being questioned address themes related to the comunal or collective nature of the indigenous lands and look to facilitate the division and sale of their lands, also in question are laws related to the privitisation (through concesions) of water, facilitate the introduction of large scale private gold mining and logging concesions, encourage the plantation of biofuels such as palm oil, all of which put at risk the integrity of the native lands and ultimately the Amazon.

The regional strike started in the early hours of this morning in the city of Puerto Maldonado, where the groups took to the streets with placards demonstrating phrases criticising the government for giving over in concesions amazonian lands without the prior consultation of the indigenous groups, or first peoples in the zone. The International Labour Group (ILO) stipulate in their agreement No. 169, that it is a legal requirement for governments to consult the indigenous groups before making any decisions which will adversely affect their lives or livelihoods.

Regarding this, Antonio Iviche, President of the Native Federation of the river Madre de Dios, FENAMAD, the organisation which represents the native peoples of Madre de Dios, confirmed that the march will be of a pacific, non-violent nature and that it expresses the just reclaims made by the indigeous amazonian groups of Madre de Dios.

Consejo Directivo FENAMAD

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(Translated from the Press note in Spanish)

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