Prize-winning peasant ecologist attacked in Peru

Máxima Acuña de Chaupe, the campesina grandmother in Peru's Cajamarca region who won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for defense of her lands from the Yanacocha mining company, survived an attack that took place on her property the morning of Sept. 18. "She has fainted!" are the last words heard in a video recorded by Yanacocha security personnel. The video indicates between 15 and 20 helmeted security guards entered Acuña's property, and began uprooting a 200-square-meter field planted with potatoes and yucca. When Acuña and her husband, Jaime Chaupe, began shouting and throwing rocks, they were set upon by security guards, sustaining blows to the body and head. Yanacocha claims the family is illegally occupying the field, and issued a statement saying the company was "peacefully exercizing its rights" in the incident.

The video apparently shows only a portion of the force that entered the property, with the Acuña de Chaupe family and supporters claiming up to 80 security guards were involved. Said Ana Maria Vidal, deputy secretary of the National Coordinator of Human Rights of Peru: "This is not the first time they have attacked Máxima Acuña. However, this time, the attack is more questionable because the law states that these interventions must be accompanied by the police force; this was not the case." (Mongabay, Sept. 21; Earthworks, TeleSur, Sept. 20; Peru21, TeleSur, Sept. 18)

  1. Newmont Mining’s own investigation finds company violated rights

    A year-long investigation commissioned and funded by the world’s second largest gold producer, Newmont Mining, reports that its Peruvian subsidiary ignored human rights standards, "prioritized eviction and litigation over dialogue," and violated its own standards in its land dispute with Peruvian subsistence farmers. In 2015 Newmont commissioned and funded Washington-based Resolve to investigate the allegations of Minera Yanacocha's misconduct made by the Chaupe family and civil society groups. (Earthworks, Sept. 28)