Peru: OAS rights commission to hear Conga case

On Oct. 16 in Lima, a delegation from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) met with Ydelso Hernández, president of the Unitary Struggle Command in Peru’s northern region of Cajamarca, who is seeking an order from the IACHR halting the controversial Conga mining project. Hernández said a group representing rondas campesinos (peasant self-defense patrols) in Cajamarca will travel to Washington DC at month’s end to testify before the IACHR about rights violations associated with the project.

Also on hand was attorney Zulma Villa of Peru’s International Institute on Law and Society (IIDS), which has been organizing human rights observation and “accompaniment” with the rondas in Cajamarca, which continue to carry out vigilance at the Conga site to assure that no work begins there while the project is officially suspended. “The rondas campesinas are defending their rights before the economic interests that seek to impose the Yanacocha company,” he said, referring to the firm that holds the Conga concession. (La Mula, Oct. 17)

That week, a National Assembly of the Peoples was also held in Lima, convened by the National Federation of Campesina, Indigenous, Native and Working Women (FEMUCARINAP), where a resolution was issued declaring the Conga project a threat to Cajamarca’s waters and unique jalca eco-region. The statement also protested that the National Police have mobilized some 400 troops from the elite National Special Operations Division (DINOES), “armed as if for war,” to the Conga site. The statement decried the “minero-military” regime of President Ollanta Humala. (Kaos en La Red, Oct. 18) FEMUCARINAP adherents have joined with ronderos in the vigilance patrols at the Conga site, which have brought out up to 2,000 local campesinos. (Caballero Verde, Oct. 16)

The following week, the National Confederation of Communities Affected by Mining (CONACAMI) met in Lima for its fifth national congress, held in the local headquarters of the of the National Agrarian Confederation (CNA). CONACAMI resolved to continue its work with transparency following a leadership change and factional struggles. (Servindi, Oct. 23)

  1. But what about Chinese miners?
    There is a push to stop development of the mine by the US company Newmont. But it is noted that the communist faction governing party in Cajamarca is starting to promote that another miner from China start working in the same location. The Chinese are notorious for not following environmental guidelines.

    It seems like they are trading down and things will be worse!

    1. You tell us: what about Chinese miners?
      We have noted these conspiracy theories, but none of the reports we’ve seen actually name the supposed Chinese mineral project, much less say that it is “in the same location” as the Conga concession (which is impossible). In Piura, bordering Cajamarca on the northwest, campesinos are organizing to oppose the Chinese-owned Rio Blanco mine, and we haven’t heard of any lack of solidarity between this struggle and that against the Conga mine.

      If you have more information, please share it with us.