Rights & Tenure in the News »
Forest and resource tenure at the heart of clashes in Peru
Deadly confrontations in the in recent weeks have claimed the lives of at least 9 indigenous protesters, 22 police officers, and injured at least 155, while the latest local reports place the number of indigenous killed at 40. The violence has been the most recent turn of events in the struggle of forest and indigenous communities to defend their rights to forest lands and resources in the Peruvian Amazon.
The roots of the current conflict lie in over 99 legislative decrees issued by President Garcia in 2008, claimed by many in the government as necessary to harmonize national legislation with the Free Trade Agreement signed with the United States.
The Interethnic Association of the Development of the Peruvian Forest (AIDESEP) has decried the legislative decrees as an attempt to undermine indigenous rights to land and territory, facilitating the privatization of communally held lands and reverting lands considered idle to government control. AIDESEP has also denounced the lack of indigenous consultation on this legislation, and is calling for the decrees to be repealed to make way for a dialogue between the government and communities.
These events come in the context of a unique forest tenure arrangement in Peru. Though statutory recognition of indigenous lands have by and large excluded forests and been limited to small agricultural areas, many communities have some access to forests through 'use concessions' (see a map displaying recognized indigenous territories in the Amazon, including Peru, here). If the legislative decrees are implemented, AIDESEP and allies assert that many of these communities could lose access to these forests and territories, which constitute crucial components of local livelihoods and culture.
For a more comprehensive briefing on the background of the current situation, details on the implications and indigenous demands related to the legislative decrees, see the briefing from Amazon Watch here.
The Economist | Oil and Land Rights in Peru
Posted By Andrew Davis at 3:57pm on June 15, 2009
This blog may contain links to external websites. These links should not be construed as endorsements by Rights and Resources of the content present. They are provided for informational purposes only.