Dorissa Accord: A Statement of Progress One Year On

October marked the one-year anniversary of an historic agreement involving the Peruvian government, the Argentine Pluspetrol oil company and the Achuar Indigenous people of the northern Peruvian Amazon. One of the main points of contention that lead to the two-week Indigenous protest last year involved the systematic dumping of 850,000 barrels per day of toxic byproducts from the oil activities directly into rivers and streams, on which the communities depend. In the agreement, Pluspetrol committed to ending the contamination by re-injecting 100% of this toxic wastewater from the oil concession, known as Block 1AB, by December 31st 2007. Engineer Bill Powers, hired by the Achuar to evaluate Pluspetrol's compliance thus far, confirmed last week that the company "is making a good faith effort to comply with the Dec. 31 100% reinjection target for Corrientes. Pluspetrol has also committed to shutting in production if for any reason they cannot achieve 100% reinjection on Dec. 31st, to ensure that no produced water goes into the Corrientes River." On the issue of remediation of contaminated areas, another issue included in the Dorissa Agreement, the Achuar will contract a specialist to make similar independent evaluation of the sites and progress by Pluspetrol.

On the vital issues of provisional foodstock and health care for the Achuar, two vital commitments made by the Peruvian government to address the critical state of emergency faced by the Indigenous communities affected by the profound contamination, the government is flatly failing. The Achuar have seen little to no progress on the ground, and blame political unwillingness and bureaucratic wrangling on the part of the central and regional governments. During a press conference today in Lima on the occasion of the one year anniversary, the president of the Achuar federation FECONACO, Andres Sandi, noted that the government has failed to deliver food to the communities in the Corrientes river basin, and that, to date, there is no efficient food distribution plan in place to serve the more than three thousand people lacking access to safe foods.

The communities also agreed that were there to be no progress on the aforementioned on the part of the government by the 15th of November, they are prepared to take alternate measures.

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