Indigenous organizations in the Amazon have demanded Peru’s Congress backtrack a recently passed Hydrocarbon bill, arguing it ignores the right of Indigenous peoples and undermines environmental conservation efforts.
Conservationists Discuss Best Practices For Amazon
Peru’s Energy and Mines Commission of the Congress approved a series of projects aiming to promote the production of hydrocarbons and strengthen the national oil company Perupetro. But the organizations said these were designed with the sole purpose of maximizing production at the expense of the people and the environment.
In a press release published on Monday, 31 Indigenous and environmental organizations, local and international, carefully explained their position regarding the bill
“It seems that the decision doesn’t take into account the environmental and health emergency declarations the Peruvian state had to issue in the present decade due to environmental problems in Indigenous territories and people’s health thanks to low standards in hydrocarbon projects,” reads the statement. “That’s the only explanation for the bill to lack an integral sustainability perspective, weakening the environmental institutions of the country.”
Among the signing organizations are the Interethnic Development Association of the Peruvian Jungle (Aidesep), the Center for the Development of the Amazon Indigenous (CEDIA), the Ecological Forum of Peru, Earth Rights International (ERI), the Citizens Movement Against Climate Change (Mocicc), the National Organization of Andean and Amazonic Indigenous Women of Peru (Onamiap), the Regional Coordinator of Indigenous Peoples of San Lorenzo (CORPI), the National Coordinator of Human Rights (Cnddhh), the General Confederation of Workers of Peru (CGTP), and many others.
The statement points out that the new bill gives the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MINEM) the last word on environmental impact decisions, at the expense of the Environment Ministry (MINAM) and its autonomy.
It will also eliminate the requirement of a previous Environmental Impact Study to approve new projects, replacing it by a much less meticulous Environmental Impact Declaration; allow the construction in infrastructure in forest areas without previous permission, opening the way for possible invasions of land belonging to uncontacted tribes and other Indigenous lands; and increasing up to 80 years the exploration and exploitation phases of licenses.
The organizations demand the backtrack of the bill, to reject laws that harm energy sovereignty and the rights of Indigenous peoples over their lands, as well as the autonomy of regional and local governments and environmental institutions.
They also call for a national dialogue and an informed and free previous consultation, as the government is taking decisions that affect the collective rights of Indigenous peoples, and for the government to reduce environmental impacts in the sector by improving techniques and adopt cleaner technologies.