Indigenous rights clash continues in Peru
comment 2 Written by on June 17, 2009 – 8:36 am

Highly disturbing images have been coming out of Peru in recent days. At least 34 people have died in conflict between police and indigenous activists who were protesting oil and mining projects in the northern Amazonian province of Bagua.

The latest development, according to Reuters, is that Peru’s Prime minister will step down over its handling, but not before persuading congress to repeal two controversial laws that indigenous groups say would speed up the destruction of the Amazon.

The above video includes an interview with a friend of mine, Gregor MacLennan from Amazon Watch, who has been on the ground in Bagua. He points out that the media has focused on police deaths, which are also tragic and inexcusable, but the loss of indigenous life has been overlooked. The Bagua people are calling for transparency in official statistics. A cover-up has been suggested.

I’ve just seen an appalling video that’s being going out on Peruvian television portraying indigenous people as savages, inciting racism and suggesting they are holding back the advance of the country. It’s a public advert by the Peruvian government so I’m told, although I’ve yet to confirm this. Shocking stuff. If I find a link, I’ll post it.


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2 Responses to “Indigenous rights clash continues in Peru”

  1. When I was in Ecuador I spent a few days in Sarayaku where the community there are among the most vociferous in their resistance to the Oil Exploration in their territory. They are also supported by Amazon Watch and I’m thankful that there are organisations like that that will bring these issues to the public eye.

    I wrote about meeting a young film-maker there who made a film about the resistance against the oil workers and army moving into the area. So far the resistance has been peaceful and successful but the communities themselves are divided. See the video below.

  2. Wow, thanks for sharing that Heather. I just read your blog and watched the vid. Heriberto must have been a fascinating person to speak to. I have so much admiration for people like him, Amazon Watch, and, of course, the people who are living the struggle on a day-to-day basis. The least we can do is help spread the word.

    By Vicky Baker on Jun 20, 2009 | Reply

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