On July 1 the Peruvian government notified Father Paul McAuley, an environmental activist in the northern Amazonian department of Loreto, that the Interior Ministry is rescinding his residency, which he has held since 2006. The order to expel the British priest, who has called Peru home for the past 20 years, comes on the heels of his efforts to ensure accountability for the massive June 19 PlusPetrol oil spill, which contaminated several rainforest communities.
McAuley’s work has resulted in repeated threats to his person, as well as prior efforts from the administration of President Alan García to expel him from the country. The current resolution against McAuley is based on a 2009 police report that cited his participation in “different activities of a political character, like protest marches…and other acts that constitute an alteration of the public order.” In 2005 McAuley founded the Red Ambiental Loretana (RAL), a non-governmental organization that has opposed government plans to auction off sections of the Peruvian Amazon to foreign timber and oil companies. (NACLA News, July 22)