Peru: indigenous leaders reject Hunt Oil concession in rainforest

The ten communities of the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve in Peru’s rainforest region of Madre de Dios announced a decision Aug. 25 rejecting the operations of the Hunt Oil company on the ancestral territory of the Harakmbut, Yine and Matsigenka peoples. The decision was made at a meeting of regional indigenous leaders at Diamante, Manu province, Madre de Dios region. It was issued in the name of the council leaders of the Amarakaeri Reserve and the Native Federation of the Río Madre de Dios (FENAMAD).

The statement charges that Lot 76, leased to Hunt Oil by the national government in March, “overlaps almost completely with the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, and places in danger the Manu Cultural Zone, two areas highly vulnerable to timber and oil extractive activities.” It also charges that Hunt “is already carrying out operations in the interior of its are of influence without having obtained the consent of the communities.”

Adán Corisepa (Harakmbut), president of the reserve’s governing council, said, “In this place where the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve is today, are the graves of our ancestors… We are ready to defend it with our lives.” The 400-hectare reserve was established following a campaign by local indigenous leaders in 1986. The indigenous comunities charge that the Hunt operations will also impact the buffer zones of Manu and Bahuaja-Sonene national parks, and the Tambopata Candamo national reserve.

Hunt Oil is currently carrying out an environmental impact study for the project. Lot 76 covers a total of 1.5 million hectares. The project is slated to include 166 heliports, and nearly 2,000 unloading zones for drilling equipment. A principal base camp for the project is being established at Quincemil. (Adital, Press Peru, Aug. 25; La Primera, Aug. 24)

See our last posts on Peru and the struggle for the Amazon.

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