(corrects penultimate paragraph, correct: “the Brazilian Leany Torres”)
Lima, Sep 30 (EFE) .- Leaders of indigenous communities in the Amazon asked the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to “call attention” to the governments of Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil in the face of the murders, threats and human rights violations that they face in their territories.
The Inter-Ethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Jungle (Aidesep) and the civil organization Law, Environment and Natural Resources (DAR) informed Efe that the indigenous representatives asked the IACHR “to intercede” so that the governments of the Amazonian countries ” take effective protection measures. “
The Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), which represents the indigenous peoples of the nine countries that comprise it, launched this alert call during the 177th session of the IACHR, which is held virtually from this Monday.
KILLINGS IN PERU
In this context, the vice president of Aidesep, Richard Rubio, warned that from last April until last September 11, five human rights defenders have been assassinated in Peru.
Among these victims, he detailed, are four indigenous representatives, whom he identified as Arbildo Meléndez, Benjamín Ríos, Gonzalo Pío Flores and Lorenzo Wampagkit, all from communities located in the Peruvian Amazon.
Rubio indicated that these crimes must be added “threats to the communities by alleged illegal agents” who enter their territories.
The representative of Aidesep pointed out that, given this situation, “coordinated measures in a multisectoral manner are urgently needed” and that the Peruvian State must give priority to approving the ratification of the Escazú Agreement “in a timely manner.”
He added that the Foreign Relations Commission of the Peruvian Congress “has been debating the ratification of this agreement for more than a month, without taking a concrete decision and while this decision is being extended, there is no access to justice for the murdered indigenous brothers.” .
Although Peru was part of the 12 American countries that signed the Escazú Agreement on September 27, 2018, it has not yet ratified this treaty, which is the first global pact that contains binding provisions for the protection and promotion of individuals, groups and organizations. that promote and defend human rights in environmental matters.
DAR specialist Jackeline Borjas also pointed out that the murders “evidence the historical absence of the States” in the protection of indigenous communities.
He added that more than six months after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Peru, the sixth country with the most cases in the world, “state inaction still persists, evidencing deliberate and repeated discrimination and neglect,” as well as the lack of priority to “preventive measures and urgent care in favor of indigenous defenders”.
Borjas also considered that the delay in ratifying the Escazú Agreement shows “the little interest” of the States in protecting the rights of indigenous defenders.
OPINION AT THE CONGRESS
Given the serious risk faced by Indigenous Peoples in a situation of Isolation and a situation of Initial Contact (PIACI) in Peru, both Aidesep and DAR highlighted the draft of the Law for the protection of indigenous or native peoples in isolation and in a situation initial contact
They considered that this ruling is “a positive advance”, since it “guarantees the effective intangibility of the PIACI territories and measures for them against COVID-19.”
The organizations indicated, in this sense, that Congress should give priority to its debate and approval “as it would mean a positive and historical precedent for the region.”
DEFENSE OF THE TERRITORY
During the presentation before the IACHR, Michael McGarrell, from the Patamuna nation of Guyana and coordinator of Human Rights and political focal point of COICA, remarked that his territory guarantees its culture, traditional forms of organization, spirituality, health, recreation, knowledge, integrity “and life itself”.
“In this sense, defending the territory for us is defending life. This defense exposes us to a highly vulnerable situation, where even in a health emergency situation there have been deaths due to violence and conflicts,” he said.
The leader of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon (Confeniae) Andrés Tapia denounced “the frequent processes of persecution and criminalization” suffered by indigenous leaders of his country.
For her part, the Brazilian Leany Torres, vice chief of the Warao people of the Ka Ubanoko settlement, indicated that they demand that a transfer process scheduled by the State for next October 28 be carried out respecting their right to consultation and consent, “and not arbitrarily and without consultation. “
According to the Peruvian organizations told Efe, at the close of this meeting, the representatives of the IACHR thanked the information received and indicated that they are monitoring the situation of vulnerability of indigenous peoples. EFE