Declaration about the Consultation Process in Peru around the Forestry Law

We, the undersigned organizations, wish to express our grave concern regarding Peru's process of "consultation" regarding its Forestry and Wildlife Law. Although the current process represents an advance in comparison to previous processes, it lacks legitimacy as well as the support of the country's representative indigenous organizations. We do not doubt the value of the contributions made by organizations and individuals who have attended these regional "consultation" meetings, and we hope that the Peruvian government will integrate these contributions into the law wherever possible. However, we call upon the Peruvian government to carry out a more comprehensive process that satisfies the requests of the representative indigenous organizations and conforms to Peru's commitments under the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 169 and its own Constitution.

The current consultation process by the Peruvian not consistent with the rights set out in ILO Convention 169, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the American Convention on Human Rights, or Decision No. 5427-2009-PC/TC (paragraphs 68 and 69) of the Constitutional Court of Peru and does not constitute "free, prior, and informed consultation." We support the analysis presented by a number of Peruvian organizations, who in a letter dated November 30, identified a multitude of concerns regarding process and methodology1, including:

  • The process is invalid, as it has not been agreed upon by indigenous peoples' representative organizations2;
  • It does not respect indigenous self-representation3;
  • There has been no process of adequate, prior and complete information;
  • It lacks good faith, and
  • It appears that the regional hearings are limited to mere information giving, rather than actual consultations.

We further share the opinion of the Peruvian government Ombudsman (Defensoria del Pueblo) indicating that the current process is "still in a stage of the event that it does not comply satisfactorily with the other steps [sufficient and reasonable evaluation, and dialogue], it would not be in compliance with the requirements indicated by the Constitutional Court's sentence (Exp. N 0022-2009-PI/TC), which would imply that indigenous peoples' right to consultation as contained in ILO169 had been affected."4

In Peru issues of territory, natural resources, and indigenous peoples' rights have caused high levels of conflict in recent years. This dynamic is worsened both by the lack of consultation and the deficiency of an atmosphere of good faith. The possibility that the current situation may exacerbate existing land and resource conflicts concerns us deeply. We add our voices to the clear demands made by representative indigenous organizations calling for the passage of the Law on Prior Consultation with Indigenous Peoples, specifically the version adopted on May 19, 2010 by the Peruvian Congress.

We respectfully request the governments of the United States, the European Union and other countries to urge the government of Peru to respect the country's commitments under human rights instruments that the State has ratified, including the ILO Convention 169 during the implementation of the U.S. - Peru Free Trade Agreements as well as other initiatives underway. They should also call for the fulfillment of Peru's international obligations to uphold indigenous peoples' rights in all legal projects relating to forests, including the Environmental Services Law, projects and national strategies for climate change and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), as well as any additional policies requiring consultation with affected indigenous peoples, be they Amazonian or Andean.

Similarly, we respectfully request that international institutions channeling multilateral funds to Peru ensure that the acts performed on behalf of forest protection are conducted in accordance with the commitments to human rights made by Peru under the Convention 169 ILO and related global and regional human rights instruments.

In the Peruvian Amazon, legal and sustainable management of forests cannot be achieved without indigenous peoples. The rights and actions of communities go hand in hand with the protection of forests. To marginalize one for the sake of reforming the other more rapidly is counterproductive and is "not seeing the forest for the trees."

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and to support respect for international standards and peaceful efforts arising from the communities themselves to strengthen the rights of indigenous Peruvians and their participation in the making of decisions that affect their lives.

Amazon Watch (USA)
Bank Information Center (USA)
Environmental Defense Fund (USA)
Environmental Investigation Agency (USA)
FERN (Belgium)
Forest Peoples Programme (England)
Global Witness (England)
Natural Resources Defense Council (USA)
Rainforest Action Network (USA)
Rainforest Foundation UK (England)
Rainforest Foundation US (USA)
Save America's Forests (USA)


  1. "Observaciones a la metodología de 'consulta' para la aprobación del Proyecto de Ley Forestal y de Fauna Silvestre", signed by the Indigenous Peoples Working Group within the National Human Rights made up of Centro Amazónico de Antropología y Aplicación Práctica – CAAAP, Derecho Ambiente y Recursos Naturales – DAR, Fundación Ecuménica para el Desarrollo y la Paz – FEDEPAZ, Instituto del Bien Común - IBC, Instituto de Defensa Legal – IDL and SERVINDI.
  2. See for example the the December 6th letter from AIDESEP to the Agricultural Committee of the Peruvian Congress.
  3. Article 6 subsection 1 a) of ILO 169 establishes that government should consult indigenous peoples through their representative organizations.
  4. Oficio N 0432-2010-DP/PAD, 3 December 2010, Defensoría del Pueblo.

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