The Pastaza Quecha People Restart Actions in Defense of their Rights

We the Pastaza Quechua Indigenous Federation address the indigenous peoples and national and international public opinion to express the following:

Once again the indigenous federations based in the areas affected by oil exploitation have attempted using dialogue in order to draw attention to the problems caused by oil and gas exploitation. In this part of the country, these problems go back over 40 years.

To this end, we have established dialogue mechanisms with Peruvian state bodies such as Congress and the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (PCM).

Parliament, through the Commission of Andean, Amazonian and Afro-Peruvian Peoples, the Environment and Ecology, established a working group to investigate the existing pollution in the Pastaza, Tigre, Corrientes and Marañón basins. The PCM in turn formed a multi-sectoral commission, which has been divided into two working groups, one in charge of environmental issues and the other social issues.

Despite the existence of these commissions, little or no progress has been made in addressing social and environmental issues that affect us. A report has been issued by the parliamentary group that investigated the environmental situation in the four basins, but no steps have been taken to address the problems faced by our communities.

Last September the central government announced the decision to implement a consultation over the new concession of oil lot 192 (previously 1AB), the result of the legitimate demands of our communities that have been affected by 40 years of oil exploitation in the northern Amazon. However, to date there is little information about the progress of the consultation process and the current state of the oil lot concession.

For this reason our federation (FEDIQUEP) has called a meeting between the 10th and 16th of January in the community of Nuevo Andoas. All of the communities in the region that are a part of FEDIQUEP will participate in the event.

With this event, we seek to inform ourselves and our communities about the consultation process and its implications. To this end, we have invited a number of public institutions, congressional representatives and specialists in the area of ‘prior consultation’. Using the information provided, we will make decisions that lead to the best defense of our rights as indigenous people.

To the authorities, especially the Perupetro officials, we ask that you give us all the information regarding the progress of this consultation process. We also need to ensure genuine participation of communities represented by FEDIQUEP throughout the process, and not only in writing a legal consultation document.

We call upon indigenous organizations and allied institutions that identify with our struggle to remain vigilant throughout this process and ensure the ‘prior consultation’ does not become a simple administrative act. Instead, it must be recognized as a space for dialogue that can address the problems of communities affected by 40 years of oil exploration, and help prevent repeating the damage and abuse that we have suffered.

Please distribute widely.

Aurelio Chino Dahua
President FEDIQUEP
San Lorenzo, January 8, 2013

Deborah Rivett, Saturday, 12 January 2013

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