Oblate JPIC Action Alert: Protest Killing of Indigenous People in the Amazon
June 10th, 2009
URGENT ACTION NEEDED!
Police Massacre of Indigenous Protesters in the Peruvian Amazon is linked to the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement
Over the past weekend, confrontations in the Peruvian Amazon between nonviolent indigenous protesters and police have left more than 60 people dead. As many as 30,000 Indigenous people have been protesting for nearly two months, a series of Presidential Decrees issued last year under the US-Peru FTA implementation law. Several of these decrees directly threaten Indigenous territories and rights.
Last April, 41 Oblate parish priests from the region issued a statement titled, “Protecting and Respecting the Amazon, we protect the indigenous”. The priests spoke directly of “the increase of social injustice and ecological destruction which threatens the very existence of indigenous and peasant communities that are being despoiled of their lands.”
Details of the Massacre:
At dawn on Friday, June 5th, 600 Peruvian police in helicopters and on foot opened fire on thousands of peaceful indigenous protesters blocking a road near Bagua in the Peruvian Amazon. Conservative estimates indicate that 60 indigenous and police have been killed. Police are accused of burning indigenous bodies, throwing them in the river and removing wounded from the hospital to hide the real number of casualties.
For two months, over 30,000 indigenous have sustained nonviolent protests along the roads and waterways of the Amazon. These protests have been in response to a series of Presidential decrees issued under the U.S.-Peru FTA implementation laws. These decrees violate indigenous rights and open the way for an unprecedented expansion of new transnational petroleum, mining, logging and mono-cropping in the Amazon rainforest.
At the recent IV Continental Summit of Indigenous Peoples in Puno, Peru, leaders of Peru’s Amazonian Indigenous called for international solidarity to safeguard the Amazon. 72% of it is already under concession for petroleum exploration and extraction. The Peruvian Amazon plays a critical role in safeguarding global climate and must be protected.
This week, Peruvian officials will meet with the USTR in Washington for discussions on FTA implementation. We need to send a strong message to our government that we stand with the indigenous people of the Peruvian Amazon and reject the killing and destruction which current U.S. free trade policies promote. Take Action now.