‘Historic’ win against illegal mining in Peru

The Superior Court of Justice for Peru's rainforest region of Madre de Dios on March 12 upheld a lower court ruling that nullified mining concessions as well as the titling of agricultural properties and granting of water rights to third parties on the territory of the indigenous community of Tres Islas, without prior consultation with that community. The Regional Government of Madre de Dios (GOREMAD) is ordered to comply with the ruling, as is the National  Water Authority (ANA) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (MINAGRI). The National Police are called upon to enforce the ruling if necessary. The decision confirms a Dec. 29 ruling by Tambopata Superior Court.

"This sentence marks a milestone in the juridical history of the country, as it is the first definitive ruling that, in compliance with international standards, declares null administrative acts that affect indigenous peoples, issued without prior consultation," said attorney Raquel Yrigoyen Fajardo of the International Institute of Law and Society (IIDS), whch represented Tres Islas. But she cautioned: "The implementation of this sentence demands a great commitment of the regional and central governments, and the vigilance of indigenous organizations and civil society, so that it does not reamin merely on paper.” (IIDS)

The Shipibo and Ese'Eja indigenous community of Tres Islas won a similar victory in 2012, when a court found that the rainforest dwellers had the right to block a road that illegal miners and timber cutters used to enter their territory.

Photo: La Mula