Madre de Dios
The Inter-ethnic Association for Development of the Peruvian Rainforest (AIDESEP) on Oct. 17 issued a "Plan for the Full Life of the Amazon," calling for indigenous-directed development projects, with the necessary funds to be provided by companies that exploit resources in the Amazonian regions. But the document, which was presented to the executive and legislative branches of the Peruvian government, draws a hard line against numerous existing and planned exploitation projects. It states that forests are threatened by 26 hydro-electric projects, particularly naming the Inambari project in Madre de Dios region and the Tambo 40 project in the Apurímac-Ene River Valley (VRAE); that hydrocarbon blocs cover 70% of the Peruvian Amazon, with mineral blocs of an additional 10 million hectares; and that an "inundation" of new roads into indigenous territory constitutes a "grave threat to the autonomous peoples," especially naming the controversial Purús-Iñapari highway in Madre de Dios. The statement called upon Peru's government to comply with International Labor Organization Convention 169 and halt projects that have not been approved in prior consultation with impacted indigenous peoples. (AIDESEP, Oct. 17)
Peru's Supreme Court on Sept. 26 ruled in favor of the Shipibo and Ese'Eja indigenous community of Tres Islas in the southern Amazon basin region of Madre de Dios, finding that the rainforest dwellers have the right to block a road that illegal miners and timber cutters use to enter their territory. Indigenous organizations hailed the ruling as an important precedent for peoples trying to halt mining, logging or oil drilling on their lands. "We think this will serve as an example for other indigenous groups to take their cases to the top court," said Jaime Tapullima Pashanase, president of the Ethnic Council of Kechwa Peoples of the Amazon (CEPKA). Added Julio Ibañez Moreno, a lawyer for Peru's trans-Amazonian alliance AIDESEP: "I consider this ruling very important for indigenous communities. This is an advance in terms of the rights they have been demanding."