Peru is back on the international human rights community’s blacklist
Peru’s Congress is moving to suspend the passage of laws at the heart of a lands right dispute with Amazonian indigenous tribes that sparked the worst violence the country has seen since the Maoist Shining Path insurgency.
Call on the government of Alan Garcia to end the massacre of the indigenous peoples of Peru, and to pay for its crimes.
Protestors’ top demand is the repeal of a series of decrees, known collectively as the "Law of the Jungle," signed by García last year using extraordinary powers granted to him by Peru’s Congress to enact legislation required by the 2006 US-Peru Free Trade Agreement. Under the government’s current plan, oil and gas concession blocs alone would cover 72 percent of Peru’s Amazon.
We ask our libertarian comrades to organise mobilisations and demonstrations outside Peruvian embassies in every country, in coordination with other sectors in struggle, in order to denounce the actions of the State and the multinationals in this country
Many Indigenous groups, human rights organizations, and environmental groups have called for President Garcia to step down and have issued calls for demonstrations at Peruvian embassies around the world "until the bloodbath is stopped and the legislative decrees for the Free Trade Agreement with the United States are repealed."
At the heart of the dispute are laws passed last year as Garcia sought to bring Peru’s regulatory framework into compliance with a free-trade agreement with the US. "This has to be seen as one more chapter in the national struggle against the FTA," Mirko Lauer, a political commentator at Peru’s La Republica newspaper, told Al Jazeera.
The indigenous groups in Peru have surprised the authorities with their sudden strength and organization and are now threatening to blunt President Alan García’s efforts to lure foreign investment to the region.
As Mexican security budgets inflate with US aid-to combat the rising power of drug trafficking and organized crime-rights groups say these funds are increasingly being used to protect the interests of multinational corporations.
Since April 9, indigenous communities have shut down oil fields and gas pipelines, and blocked roads, rivers, airports and other installations. These actions are in protest at government decrees that open access to indigenous people’s lands to facilitate oil, mining, logging and agricultural companies. Garcia decreed the laws under special powers awarded to him by Congress to bring Peruvian law into line with a free trade agreement (FTA) signed with the United States in December 2007.
After more than six weeks of protests by Peru’s Amazonian indigenous groups that have included blockades of major roads and waterways and the shutting down an oil pipeline pumping station, the Peruvian government has begun to crack down.
Indigenous leaders from around the world are joined by supporters in a demonstration today outside the Peru’s Mission to the United Nations, urging the Alan Garcia Government to respect indigenous peoples’ rights and repeal a series of new laws passed under the pretext of implementing the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States.
As the Peruvian government declared a state of emergency in the face of one month long indigenous protests, 42 indigenous leaders have entered the Peruvian Congress to announce a hunger strike until the issue of a repeal of decrees affecting the territorial rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon is debated by the full legislature. The decrees, which were passed to facilitate the Free Trade Agreement with the United States, facilitate the transfer of Amazon land and resource rights to oil, mining, logging and agricultural companies to the detriment of indigenous and campesino inhabitants. They also set the stage for the privatization of water resources.
United States foreign trade policies should insist on seeking more ethical economic practices which do not rely on the exploitation of lives and environmental resources, but which thrive off of sustainable relationships of production. Additionally, the United States should recognize the role it has historically played in protracting violence in Colombia, and the influence it has on Colombian forms of governance and economic policy
Colombian indigenous took their protest to Colombia’s capital Bogotá this weekend. Their struggle is about controlling the land in which they have lived and taken care of for hundreds of years.
The Andean Coordination of Indigenous Organizations (CAOI) ratified rejection of a free trade agreement that governments of Colombia and Peru want to sign with the European Union. This reiteration is contained in a letter CAOI representative Miguel Palacin addressed to Peruvian Foreign Minister Jose Garcia Belaunde, referring to the latter’s threats to expel Bolivian social leaders allegedly in Peru to take part in protests against the agreement.
The Andean Community is in crisis as a result of the attitude of the European Union and the governments of Colombia and Peru, who in a meeting of foreign ministers held in Europe proposed to negotiate the FTA bilaterally, breaking with the Guayaquil Agreement, which ratified block by block negotiation. This attitude undermines Andean integration.
The U’wa called attention to indigenous mobilizations in Colombia where some 15,000 are marching to Bogota — to protest their government’s backsliding on indigenous land rights in attempt to make way for the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.
"During your historic campaign, you publicly noted some of what Colombians currently face: you acknowledged the murders of trade unionists by the regime and stated your reservations about a Free Trade Agreement with Colombia, which our people have decided against through a democratic referendum. We thank you for this, and now want you to know about the specific situation facing Colombia’s indigenous peoples."
The US free trade agreement with Colombia is back in the spotlight, after President Bush allegedly conditioned his support for a bailout of the auto industry on the Democrats dropping their opposition to the FTA.