Shipibo Medicine Woman Gunned Down in Peruvian Amazon

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Shipibo Konibo medicine woman Olivia Arévalo Lomas was gunned down with multiple shots by an unknown assailant on April 19th in the Intercultural Community "Victoria Gracia", located twenty minutes from the Town of Yarinacocha, in the Peruvian Amazon.

Andrew Miller, Amazon Watch Advocacy Director, made the following statement about the killing of Arévalo:

Amazon Watch is saddened and outraged by the news of the brazen assassination of the recognized Shipibo medicine woman Olivia Arévalo. According to eyewitnesses, an unknown man with a foreign accent approached her house in the community of Victoria Gracia, calling her name. As Olivia stepped outside, the assassin shot her multiple times, killing her immediately. The killer then escaped on a motorcycle.

We express our condolences to her family in community of and stand in solidarity with the indigenous organizations that are denouncing this horrific act. Amazon Watch joins the urgent call for Peruvian authorities to not only investigate and bring to justice the authors of this atrocity, but also to protect the many indigenous people who are currently under threat, whether other traditional healers, community leaders, or indigenous rights activists.

COSHIKOX, the Shipibo governing council, made the following statement (which we have translated into English):

Press Statement: April 20, 2018

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The Shipibo Konibo Xetebo Government repudiates the assassination of our wise elder Olivia Arévalo Lomas and we demand immediate action from the relevant authorities

The Shipibo Konibo Xetebo Government (COSHIKOX) repudiates the cruel assassination of our ancestral knowledge keeper Olivia Arévalo Lomas, which was carried out yesterday April 19th at the front doorstep of her house, a premeditated and treacherous act committed in front of family members (including children) who are traumatized from seeing these sad acts.

COSHIKOX, as the preeminent organization of the Shipibo-Konibo-Xetebo indigenous people, demands that the police and judicial authorities of the Peruvian government take immediate action in response to this additional abuse against our wise people, both men and women. The assassination of this indigenous women is an attack against the well-being and respect for the Shipibo people, who are known for the promotion of intercultural dialogue and a vision of shared development with the country.

Olivia Arévalo Lomas will continue to be a living symbol of wisdom, ancestral knowledge and the feminine strength which contributes to the reaffirmation of our cultural identity, in addition to establishing an equitable communication between the Shipibo-Konibo-Xetebo people, medical science, and Western society writ large. However, an attack was made against her and everything that we as indigenous peoples defend, violating our human rights and ending the life of one of the women who represented the inexhaustible strength of our culture.

COSHIKOX denounces these actions with deep concern, demanding that the relevant authorities identify those who were involved and rapidly bring them to justice. Justice in Peru should have an indigenous face and not ignore this case without showing the intention of applying the national and international norms that protect indigenous peoples, especially our Shipibo-Konibo-Xetebo women.

Additionally, we call on the international community to join in solidarity and action in response to these acts which our people are now mourning and which call all indigenous peoples to join us, especially those with delegations before the U.N. Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues which is in session this week.

We are appreciative of all expressions of solidarity that continue to arrive and which give us strength to continue promoting and defending our rights, which are the same as those of our Mother Earth.

Ronald Suarez Maynas

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