Victory for Indigenous Land Rights and Self-Determination in Peru

Peruvian Court recognizes right to collective territory for Achuar People of Peru

Amazon Watch

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Yesterday a Peruvian court issued a precedent-setting ruling in favor of the Achuar people of the Pastaza in the northern Peruvian Amazon, recognizing their right to self-determination and collective territory. The court ordered the Peruvian government to proceed with the collective titling of Achuar ancestral territory and recognized the Achuar federation FENAP as a legal person with all the corresponding rights under Peruvian law.

The case resulted from a suit brought by FENAP, the Federation of the Achuar Nation of Peru, demanding the full recognition of its rights as an Indigenous nation, including a collective land title beyond simply the community-by-community process that currently exists, and the annulment of Block 64, an oil concession that overlaps with a majority of Achuar territory.

Block 64, currently under contract for exploration by the Chile-based company GeoPark, was created in 1995, one year after Peru signed International Labor Organization Convention 169, which requires the prior consultation of Indigenous communities for activities like oil drilling. he court ruled inadmissible the request for an annulment. The Achuar are appealing this part of the ruling.

Andrew Miller, Advocacy Director with Amazon Watch, issued the following statement about the ruling:

"We welcome this decision and note its immense implications for Indigenous rights across Peru. The recognition of a collective title for the Achuar will serve as a precedent for many other Indigenous peoples demanding their ancestral territorial rights in response to the invasion of extractive industries like oil, logging, and mining. Furthermore, today's legal decision should serve as a further warning to the GeoPark oil company that its days in Block 64 are numbered."

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