Peru Auctions Off Amazon Despite Potential Human Rights Violations, Social Unrest and Environmental DevastationFebruary 2, 2011Amazon Watch
Over the last decade, the Peruvian government has pursued an aggressive hydrocarbon development plan and concessioned off nearly 70% of the Peruvian Amazon to international oil companies without consulting with affected indigenous peoples. This strategy presents serious threats to the environment and indigenous rights and has already resulted in massive protests. The underlying social unrest and lack of social license to operate creates major operational, reputational and legal risks for companies.
Bagua shocked the nation because of its tragic and needless death toll that resulted from the disproportionate and poor handling of a military operation, for which no one has assumed responsibility, and because it showed that the government of Alan García had attempted to surreptitiously bring down the constitutional regime pertaining to the Amazonian Indigenous Peoples' rights to favor big private interests.
The following 38 organizations from around the world are writing to express our concern for the security and well-being of Mr. Tony James, President of the Amerindian Peoples Association. According to the Executive Board of APA, in a statement issued on December 10th, there have been multiple incidents over recent months in which unknown people have come asking about Tony's whereabouts. In one instance, an unknown woman noted, "they want his head; they want him dead."
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.
Unrest in Ecuador: Police Strike Pushes Ecuador to Verge of Coup
September 30, 2010
President Being Held in Quito Hospital by Rebel Police Officials
As darkness falls on Ecuador's capital city of Quito, the only police presence in the streets is that of a group of insubordinate officers who staged a national police strike today that shattered a recent relative political calm in this Andean nation.
The Ishpingo, Tambococha, Tiputini oil fields are Ecuador's largest. According to estimates, they could yield up to 900 million barrels of heavy crude. But in a cruel twist of geologic fate, they happen to lie beneath one of the most biodiverse places on the planet – Yasuni National Park in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
A year has passed since a police operation to end 55 days of peaceful indigenous protests in the Amazon basin resulted in a violent clash between military police and the peaceful protesters in Bagua last June 5, 2009. It was the worst violence Peru has seen in recent history, leaving 34 people dead and almost two hundred injured. As Amazon Watch’s Peru Campaigner, I was in Bagua the day after the violence and returned this year for the anniversary.
We have learned much from our work around the IDB and other banks and know that there is great potential to influence critical actors through North-South collaborations.
Berito burst onto the international scene in 1997, when he first traveled to California to face down Occidental Petroleum. The Los Angeles-based oil company had been scheming to drill for oil on U'wa territory, against the vociferous opposition of the U'wa. Berito's charismatic message inspired Amazon Watch – along with dozens of sister organizations and thousands of grassroots activists.
I spent the early summer in southern Louisiana, in a region I had never visited before. There was a sense that something terrible had been occurring there for many years, something that preceded the BP oil disaster, irreversible and wrong.