Sunday, June 7, 2009

Cultural Survival: Emergency Action: Stop Violence Against Amazon Defenders

Cultural Survival has more on the situation in Peru, in way of an action: 
Since April 9th communities in the Peruvian Amazon have been protesting new laws passed by President Alan Garcia's government that usher in the Free Trade Agreement with the United States and authorize an unprecedented wave of extractive industries into the Amazon Rainforest.

Over 30,000 indigenous people have been blockading roads, rivers, and railways to demand the repeal of these new laws that allow oil, mining and logging companies to enter indigenous territories without seeking their prior consultation or consent.  Peru's President Alan Garcia has said that "small groups" must not stand in the way of "development" of the Amazon.

Please add your voice in solidarity with thousands of indigenous people. Send a letter today to the Garcia Administration demanding respect for the constitutionally guaranteed rights of indigenous peoples.

On May 9th, the Peruvian government declared a state of emergency for 60 days and sent in the military and special police squads to use force to suppress the non-violent protests and protect corporate interests. There have been several incidents of unprovoked violence against indigenous demonstrators. The new forestry law (Decree 1090), which has been deemed unconstitutional, is currently being debated in the Peruvian Congress.

As one of the Earth's largest tropical rainforests, the Amazon plays a critical role in safeguarding the global climate. Its destruction releases massive amounts of global warming gases worsening climate change. Indigenous peoples are the guardians of the Amazon rainforest. They need our support.  Thanks to our campaign partners Amazon Watch and Forest Peoples Programme for providing information for this action alert.

Please send your own letter to President Garcia or use the model letter below.

Excelentísimo Señor
Presidente Alan García
Despacho Presidencial
Jirón de la Unión S/N 1 cda
Lima 1

Send email to President Garcia from this website:

Messages are limited to 300 characters. The following message is 299 characters:

I urge you to:
1. Uphold the rights of indigenous peoples to prior consultation and consent over activities that affect them.
2. Suspend the State of Emergency, withdraw your Special Forces and decriminalize peaceful protests.
3. Dialogue with indigenous leaders to resolve this conflict.

Notes: you will be asked to give your date of birth and an ID document. You can just enter "pasaporte" for the ID. For the drop-down list of home countries, "United States" in Spanish is "Estados Unidos."
Please send copies of your letter to:

Yehude Simon Munaro, President of the Council of Ministers  
(, Fax +51 1- 716- 87-35 )

Rafael Vásquez Rodríguez, President of Congress 
(, Fax +51 1- 311- 77- 03 )

Public Ombudsman Office of Peru 

Peruvian Embassador in your country (for contact details - see
UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances

UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom expression  

United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

IACHR Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

IACHR Rapporteur on the Right to Freedom of Expression


Dear Mr. President Alan García,

I am writing to express my concern about recent decrees that have been passed in violation of the constitutionally guaranteed rights of indigenous peoples of Peru. I am also concerned about the Government's decision to declare a State of Emergency on Saturday, May 9. I understand through international media reports that the Peruvian Government's special forces are suppressing peaceful demonstrations in the Amazon region.

I urge your administration to show immediate restraint and refrain from using force on indigenous demonstrators.
In the context of the Free Trade Agreement with the US, your administration has attempted to roll back legal protections for indigenous peoples in order to open the Amazon rainforest to permit oil and mineral extraction by multinational corporations. These government actions violate international laws and conventions, including those ratified by Peru, that guarantee the rights of indigenous peoples.

In September 2007, the Peruvian government demonstrated true leadership in introducing and supporting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on the floor of the General Assembly. Today, your administration is acting in stark contrast to its stated commitment to this Declaration.

I respectfully urge your administration and the Peruvian Congress to:
1. Uphold the constitutionally guaranteed rights of indigenous peoples to self-determination, to their ancestral territories, and to prior consultation and consent over any policies and activities that affect them. 
2. Repeal the series of contested Decrees associated with the Free Trade Agreement with the United States.
3. Suspend the State of Emergency, withdraw your Special Forces and decriminalize peaceful protests. 
4. Enter into good faith meaningful process of dialogue with indigenous leaders to resolve this conflict.



Special thanks to Thomas Quirynen for the photo of Awajun indigenous protesters in Bagua, northern Peru, where many were wounded and taken to hospitals on May 10 after armed police attacked their non-violent blockade of the Corral Quemado Bridge. 

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