Monday, March 20, 2006

AIDESEP Proclamation

The indigenous organization, AIDESEP, issued the following proclamation after the fifth Camisea spill. (English Translation).

Declaration of the Interethnic Association on the Development of the Peruvian Amazon (AIDESEP)

CAMISEA Project Demonstrates Lack of Planning: Attempt on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples


Aware of the current situation facing our peoples, the Interethnic Association on the Development of the Peruvian Jungle (AIDESEP) – the organization that defends and promotes the rights of indigenous peoples in the Peruvian Amazon – expresses the following:

The concurrence of the electoral process, the release of a report by a foreign monitoring company in Washington, and a new spill – which the area suffered yesterday, on March 4, 2006 – have revealed the difficult situation the Machiguenga and other indigenous peoples face and has made the press and the public question these circumstances. This reaction is due to more than just awareness of deficient environmental management, inadequate supervision, and the irresponsibility of officials from diverse institutions created to monitor the development of the CAMISEA gas mega project. It is also a result of having been the target of deception on the part of the concession company.

To avoid [late] penalties outlined in the concession contract, the company installed the liquid natural gas (LNG) pipeline haphazardly and irresponsibly, without proper safeguards, and clearly without the supervision or verification of relevant state agencies as well. It is possible to arrive at these conclusions simply through technical observation of the successive failures of the pipeline. Nevertheless, we should reiterate that we previously warned of the grave dangers posed by this project’s implementation. The ecological balance is at stake, but also principally the life and health of the Nanti, Nahua, Kugapakori, Machiguenga and other indigenous groups. We are concerned not only about these native communities but also about the groups living in voluntary isolation, one third of whose territory is superimposed upon by the Camisea gas concession.

These situations are developing as we enter the third millennium, when Peru, through R. Legislative 26253, ratified and approved ILO Convention No. 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal and Peoples in Independent Countries. During the same period, the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People was declared and adopted by the United Nations to direct effective attention to related challenges and guarantee indigenous participation at diverse levels of decision-making within State Parties. On November 24, 2004, States signed the Brazilian Declaration, and attending States made additional agreements concretizing the rights of indigenous peoples. While all these agreements are full of good intentions, they are not being applied here, much less are they recognized by the majority of Peruvian State officials. This is evident in the current reality of indigenous politics, which lacks consultation, and the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent of indigenous peoples to policies, legislative and administrative measures, programs, or projects that affect them.

Faced with such omissions, indifference, and carelessness, we, as indigenous peoples, have already lost confidence in the efficacy of the democratic system. In many cases, we have already witnessed direct attacks against collective indigenous rights in the imposition of “negotiable” grids as concessions over ancestral indigenous territories. This is a widespread problem despite severe penalties decreed by the current government.

The fact is that our peoples don’t believe the judicial system will help us resolve this problematic situation. For example, the company, which has been fined four times, still – to this day – has not paid, because it hopes to find the legal ruse needed to challenge the fines and move from an administrative venue to the courts. Despite this, the agencies responsible for environmental matters have not deigned to issue a denouncement, much less the magistrates at the Public Ministry’s office, even to prevent the crime of causing actual or potential environmental harms. The exception is the Ombudsman’s Office, which has recently released a report about the grave effects on the rights of indigenous peoples.

Considering this situation, AIDESEP demands the following:
1. The immediate suspension of the Camisea Gas project (equally important, the General Control of the Republic should intervene in order to verify fulfillment of the functions of OSINERG, INRENA, CONAM, DIGESA, DGAA of the Ministry of Energy and Mines, the CAMISEA DEFENSE, INDEPA and GTCI).
2. That an audit of the entire pipeline is carried out and a definitive suspension of the Camisea gas project is announced.
3. That, in consideration of the company’s grave breach of contract provisions, lack of ethics, trickery, and its overvaluation of material and expenses, Plus Petrol’s concession be made null and void.
4. That the Energy Tax law is modified so that communities whose natural resources are extracted can directly enjoy resulting benefits.
5. That the government stipulates that enforcement of fines against companies violating the law will occur within a certain timeframe and responsibility will not lift if there isn’t an effective deposit of the entire amount. Moreover, that said amounts will be turned directly over to affected communities.

Through this declaration the indigenous organization AIDESEP reiterates the aforementioned conclusions and demands to national state agencies, the IDB, NGOs of the world, and the press. There has been a lack of attention, recognition, and respect for the collective human rights of indigenous peoples, as well as State exploitation of natural resources inside our ancestral territories – territories we possessed long before colonization and formation of the current national State. In light of this, we declare our lands – the soils and subsoils – as defined within internal agreements made during AIDESEP’s 20th National Congress and the Second Continental Summit of the indigenous peoples ABYA YALA and others, to be as they always have been: imprescriptible, inalienable, unembargoable, and unexpropriable.


Leadership Council of AIDESEP

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