Shipibo Leader Demands #LandRightsNow in Amazon and End To Repression of Indigenous Activists
- May 9, 2017
- Andrew E. Miller
Amazon Watch has had the pleasure of knowing Shipibo indigenous activist Ronald Suárez for many years. In 2005 he participated in a communications course we offered in Peru in cooperation with the human rights communications organization Witness. Ronald has since gone on to make several documentaries highlighting the threats in his Ucayali region of the Peruvian Amazon. In 2016 he was elected to serve as President of the Shipibo Konibo Xetebo Council, which represents some 38,000 Shipibo people.
Over the last several weeks, we were honored to support Ronald's activities at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City and during the Peoples Climate March in Washington, DC. We supported Ronald in getting his message to broader audiences through participation in a public forum, meeting Leonardo DiCaprio, and circulating his statement before the U.N. to English-language audiences. His trip was organized and financed by the Shipibo Conibo Center in New York City.
Ronald's speech highlights issues facing indigenous peoples across Peru and the Amazon writ large. He underscores the global dynamic in which indigenous leaders, land defenders, and environmental activists are increasingly threatened by economic and political interests – sometimes even facing death for their work. Ronald himself has received death threats and returns to Peru concerned for his own safety.
Shipibo Leader Issued Amazonian Demands at the UN Permanent Forum
Ronald Suárez Maynas, president of the Shipibo Conibo Xetebo Council, outlined the serious threats facing the Peruvian Amazon during the 16th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, currently being carried out in New York City through May 5th.
The indigenous communications expert from the Shipibo people, and one of the founders of the Peruvian Network of Indigenous Communicators (REDCIP), demanded that the Peruvian government guarantee and expedite processes of communal land titling, put the brakes on natural resource extraction, and suspend all mega-projects that pose a threat to uncontacted indigenous communities, especially projects tainted by corruption.
Suárez explained before the Permanent Forum how indigenous territories are being subject to violence and the rights of indigenous communities threatened. He demanded that governments, in particular the Peruvian government, recognize the self-determination of his indigenous people.
Below we include the speech of Ronald Suárez, whose presence received much coverage amongst the media during the Permanent Forum as during the Peoples Climate March in which he participated at the side of the famous actor Leonardo DiCaprio, winner of the Oscar and active defender of indigenous peoples facing climate change.