Resistance announced against land usurpation in Peru

Resistance announced against land usurpation in Peru

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John Ahni Schertow
October 30, 2007
 

The Native Federation of Madre de Dios River and tributaries (FENAMAD) has denounced the governments actions toward granting mining concessions to indigenous lands in Peru, and have announced they must resort to self-defense in order to defend their right to the land.

They say the concessions are for one, a violation of the constitution and the ILO convention. But it is also causing conflict, and principally contributing to the “plundering of our territories, contamination of rivers and watersheds, destruction of the forest, fleeing animals” and putting pressure on hunting, causing difficulties in domestic activities, raising the cost of living, and increasing malnutrition and social diseases like alcoholism.

Currently, there are atleast 11 communities suffering because of these illegal concessions.

FENAMAD, a representative of the Indigenous Peoples of Madre de Dios, recently went to State authorities to deliver a message expressing these concerns, in which they state they will remain committed to defending their land, “even if our very existence is threatened.”

Their message, (translated by google from Spanish) can be found below. You can read the original statement here

Outraged by the Energy and Mines sector granting mining rights in the territories of indigenous peoples

First – Indigenous peoples of Madre de Dios will persist in defending our territories inherited by our ancestors, without the backing of government in politics nor in policy, as opposed to permanent encroachment into the territories of our native communities , for formal and informal miners, which has become for us a permanent threat, for various reasons such as plundering of our territories, contamination of rivers and watersheds, destruction of the forest, fleeing animals, pressure on hunting, difficulties in domestic activities, the high cost of living, fatal disease by malnutrition, as well as social ills such as alcoholism.

Second – Faced with this reality the state, contradictorily, we recognize the legal existence and legal status as native communities, autonomy in the organization, use and provision of free land, and we also recognize the guarantee of the inviolability of our territory, as stated in Articles 70 ° and 89 ° of the Constitution.

However, the government is giving mining rights without prior consultation, contrary to the provisions of article 6 of ILO Convention 169; Overlapping mining concessions to territories of our communities, causing conflicts and confrontations up with firearms, with consequences fatal as a miner’s death occurred on 11 September of this year, in the native community of Barranco Chico, which led to complaints and litigation against us indigenous people, who ironically are deployed judicially by usurpation, aggravated robbery, attempted homicide, among other criminal offenses, as if it were a crime to defend our territories and our existence.

Third – This problem continued in 11 native communities: Harbor Light, San Jose, Barranco Chico, Arazaire, Kotsimba, Boca Inambari, Shiringayoc, Three Islands, El Pilar, San Jacinto, Palma Real, in which every day we invaded, despite the fact that we have reported numerous speeches in a timely fashion to the various governments of the day; however, the problem persists to this day.

Fourth – At present, despite the suspension of submission of new requests miners, with vividness and stunt Creole, violating and ignoring the rules and complicity with the mining industry, miners are submitting requests overlying our territories and by granting mining rights in the areas suspended. This implies disorder and breach of the process of consultation regarding the registration for granting preferential rights in the territories of our communities whose areas are suspended, as noted in the Republic of Macedonia No. 137-2005-MEM-DM.

The mining authority of the national government (INGEMET) has been accepting and processing requests of miners on grid in which a fraction is free denunciabilidad and with more than 90 per cent within the area suspended, particularly with the hidden intention that the miners settlers having the mining law and thus block the possibility that other access to these areas when the suspension is lifted, affecting even registered to seek preferential right.

For these reasons, the Native Federation of Madre de Dios, through this pronouncement located at national and regional government as well as the relevant sector of the Ministry of Energy and Mines, demanding:

A) provides immediate nullification of the process of mining requests on the grid in which a fraction of the area of the grid is free denunciabilidad and the biggest difference within the area suspended the filing of requests miners.

B) There are admitted for processing new requests miners on the grid in which a fraction of the area they are in a state of self denunciabilidad and the biggest difference within the area suspended the filing of requests miners.

C) The native communities concerned, we will not accept or allow mining work inside the territory to mining concessions being processed and those with rights, post-suspension for the presentation of new requests miners.

D) We urge the miners to comply with the law 26505, which requires that before any activity prior to comply with the permission of the owner of the surface, which for this case are the native communities. Otherwise we shall not be liable for the consequences arising its intransigent attitude, when through violence is usurping the communal land.

E) We, the indigenous, in the regular exercise of our right to defend our land and property on the face of absence, apathy of the authorities to allow the invasion of the miners, we will defend our land even if our very existence is threatened.

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