Peru passes indigenous rights law without consent of the Indians 4 April 2012

The new law has been pushed since the tragic incidents of the Bagua protests in northern Peru
The new law has been pushed since the tragic incidents of the Bagua protests in northern Peru
© Marijke Deleu and Thomas Quirynen

This week Peru has published the greatly anticipated Prior Consultation Law promised by Ollanta Humala at the beginning of his presidency last year.

The law aims to strengthen ILO Convention 169, the only international law protecting indigenous peoples’ rights, which was ratified by Peru in 1993.

However, the law has been bitterly rejected by some of Peru’s most important indigenous organizations after months of intense debate.

Contentious points include the decision to consult indigenous peoples about projects that will affect their lands and rights only after a contract has been granted.

Another hotly contested clause is that consultation ‘is not necessarily binding’, meaning a project that is rejected by all the indigenous inhabitants can still go ahead.

In many parts of Peru indigenous people, including uncontacted tribes, have had their lands divided up unto oil and gas blocks or auctioned off for hydroelectric dams.

Although many companies in Peru pay lip service to indigenous rights laws, many use force or coercion to ensure their project is given the green light.

 

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