martes, 15 de septiembre de 2009

Native Communities of Madre de Dios present a lawsuit for protection against Hunt Oil and Repsol in defense of the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve

Native communities of the Amazon region Madre de Dios in Southeastern Peru, represented by their organization FENAMAD (Native Federation of the Madre de Dios River and tributaries), have decided to take on legal actions for their protection against the hydrocarbon companies Hunt Oil Exploration & Production Company of Perú y Repsol Exploración Perú.

This step of caution responds to the obvious damage that will eventually be inflicted upon the native communities that live around the Amarakaeri Communal and that benefit from it through the Executant of the Administration Contract (ECA), and upon the local people who live along the Madre de Dios river, given that with every single activity of the companies mentioned above, the basic human right to “…enjoy a balanced environment that is appropriate for the development of life” would be violated.

This lawsuit, presented to the Mixed Court of Tambopata this Wednesday, September 9th, is based on the fact that Amarakaeri Communal Reserve is specially important, as it is the area from which the headwaters of six rivers spring (Madre de Dios river, Upper Alto Madre de Dios, Blanco river, Azul river, Inambari river and Colorado river) that are the only source of fresh water that more than ten thousand people, among natives and colonists, rely on.

“FENAMAD hopes that this legal action will paralyze any activity inside the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, as otherwise the very existence of Madre de Dios` indigenous people would be put at risk”, expressed Jaime Corisepa, leader of FENAMAD.

The oil exploitation project would expose to great risks the water quality of those rivers. “The conservation and preservation of the river has been the main objective for creating the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve”, in 2002.

Hunt Oil Company and Repsol Exploration Peru are shareholders of the lot 76 leased by the State in 2006 in order to carry out oil exploration and exploitation activities in this part of Madre de Dios. This lot is superposed almost totally upon the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, an ancient homeland to the indigenous Harakmbut, Yine and Machiguenga people, which was recognized officially after more than ten years of indigenous struggle.

Agreement 169 of the IWO

Another point of the lawsuit is that the government did not consult with the communities that would be affected by these legal dispositions, such as the legal decree 053-2006 of the Ministry of Energy and Mines, that approves the concession contract for hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation in lot 76, which will affect people`s lives directly, as it is superposed upon the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve.

This omission violates the Agreement No.169 of the International Work Organization, which Peru had signed, and which points out in its article 6 that governments should “consult with the interested peoples by using appropriate procedures and in particular through their representatives institutions, each time when legal or administrative measures are planned that might affect them directly”.

“The government`s politics has always been constant: the violation of the rights of the indigenous people. We have always been regarded second class citizens who have no right to have opinions, in spite of a law that stipulates this. This situation has generated great social conflicts. This is what we can see with timber, mining and hydrocarbon concessions that have been granted without the consent of the native communities”, declared Corisepa.

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