Peru: Indigenous People declaring the real state of emergency

by May 13, 2009

(Updated: June 5) On May 9, 2009, the Peruvian government declared a state of emergency in the regions of Loreto, Amazonas, Cusco, and Ucayali–where thousands of indigenous people have mobilized against several new laws that threaten to strip away their indigenous land rights.

In effect, the state of emergency (SoE) is a “declaration of war” against “those who seek to change the course of history,” says Roger Rumrrill: A license for the government to violently repress Indigenous People.

The real state of emergency

One day before the SoE was announced, AIDESEP, the National Organization of the Amazon Indigenous people of Peru, and several other key indigenous and peasant organizations pledged unanimously to “radicalize” the mobilization, which is backed by more than 1200 communities.

They say it is the only thing they could do to “resolve the mobilization,” since the government refuses to act responsibly and repeal the laws in question.

As far as needs and rights go, this is the real state of emergency in Peru right now. Indeed, the mobilization isn’t some “misinformed” adventure as the government would have us believe—as if the needs and rights of Indigenous people can be relegated to mere provender, and then tossed aside for the “greater good” of foreign bank accounts.

No, the mobilization is a struggle for life itself. And it is one that will continue no matter what rhetoric or violence the government puts out during their own State of Emergency.


What You Can Do

1. Join the Solidarity with Peru group on Facebook

2. Send a Message to the President of Peru (additional contacts) asking him to:

  • Repeal the Free Trade Laws that allow oil, logging, and agricultural corporations easy entry into indigenous territories
  • Suspend the State of Emergency and suppression of peaceful protests
  • Respect indigenous peoples’ constitutionally guaranteed rights to self-determination, to their ancestral territories, and to prior consultation
  • Enter into good faith process of dialogue with indigenous peoples to resolve this conflict

Peru Mobilization Updates (As of June 5)