The Peruvian congress this week voted to repeal the legislative decrees 1090 and 1064, which would have opened up the country’s Amazon territory to increased mining, oil, gas and hydropower development. The controversial laws were passed to implement a free trade agreement with the US. For more than two months, indigenous groups from the Peruvian Amazon have been protesting the government’s attempts to exploit natural resources found on their territories. After securing a reversal off the laws, leading indigenous groups have called off the protests.
On June 5th, a violent clash between police and indigenous protesters in Bagua Province resulted in numerous deaths on both sides, and left hundreds of protestors injured and an unknown number still missing. On June 7th, members of Achuar, Kichwa and Urarina communities in the northern Peruvian Amazon region of Loreto temporarily took control of oil blocks 1AB and 8, some of Peru’s most productive oil fields and currently operated by Pluspetrol, until police dispersed the crowd by firing warning shots.
EarthRights International represents indigenous communities in Block 1AB in a legal case against Occidental Petroleum, a U.S. based company that sold its operations in the region to Pluspetrol, for widespread environmental destruction.
For more information about the conflict in Peru please see:
NYTimes: Fatal Clashes in Peru at Roadblock
NYTimes: Protesters Gird for Long Fights over Opening Peru´s Amazon (including photo of FECONACO dirigente Petty)
The Economist: Oil and Land Rights in Peru, Blood in the Jungle
AmazonWatch: Peruvian Police Fire on Unarmed Indigenous Tribes´ Oil and Gas Protest