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Megatrial against indigenous leaders could undermine climate negotiations in Peru

Servindi, 23th May, 2014.- A megatrial of 53 accused, including more than twenty indigenous Amazonian leaders, can affect the image of Peru as part of the preparations for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference in Lima, Global Witness stated.

The defendants face up to life imprisonment for their role in protests in the Amazonas region that ended in a fatal government crackdown in June 2009, were at least 30 people died and more than 200 were injured.

“It is tragically ironic that the hosts of a major climate summit are criminalising people who tried to save the Amazon from destruction,” said Andrew Simms of Global Witness.

“Tropical forests are a key line of defence against global warming, and are worth more in every sense standing than they are cut down. People who put themselves on the line to prevent deforestation should certainly not be stripped of their rights, their land and thrown in jail” Simms added.

Seven indigenous leaders, including some that were not present in the conflict area, could be sentenced to life imprisonment for allegedly inciting violence.

The protests were a response to a government decree that was passed without consultation, so that communal land could be opened up to oil, logging and mining.

The case has become one of the most important trials in the history of the country, and has been characterized by a lot of misinformation and a lack of impartiality. (1) Preliminary investigations were focused on the indigenous peoples, instead of identifying the politicians and chiefs of police responsibilities.

The Peruvian government is trying to show the international community that promotes the rights of indigenous peoples while is prepareing a more progressive forest legislation. But in fact "the State takes to court those same indigenous leaders that is working with."

In 2009 the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples called for an independent special committee to conduct a thorough investigation into the events of that day.

James Anaya added that: “The prosecution of indigenous people for protests should not be used as a method to suppress freedom of expression, and should be done only in cases where there is clear evidence of criminality.” (2)

Global Witness recent report, Deadly Environment, ranked Peru as one of the countries where people are most at risk from state-sponsored killings of land and environmental defenders.

From 2012 to 2013, there were at least 21 civilian deaths or assassinations resulting from such disputes, with indigenous communities worst affected.

Notes:

(1) http://departamento.pucp.edu.pe/ciencias-sociales/files/2012/05/2011Cuadernodetrabajo13.pdf

(2) http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=14170&LangID=E

(3) Global Witness report can be accesed here: http://www.globalwitness.org/sites/default/files/library/Medio%20ambiente%20mortal.pdf

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Translated from Spanish to IWGIA and Servindi by Luis Manuel Claps.

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Megatrial against indigenous leaders could undermine climate negotiations in Peru es un reto al gobierno peruano por las persecuciones contra los amazónicos por jueces y fiscales, pero en consigna de los apristas.
Por estas persecuciones políticas y nada reales contra los amazónicos, james Anaya está advirtiendo que el Perú se desprestigiará en el evento de COP de diciembre próximo, preparación que las Naciones Unidas está realizando en Lima.
Incluso puede perder la sede y estaría actuando con hipocresía cuando está persiguiendo a los nativos amazónicos hasta con sentencias de muy crueles.
Por qué no investigan quienes son los que ordenaron el ametrallamiento a las 6 a.m. ese día desde helicópteros? Acaso no sabemos que fueron Alan garcía, Mercedes Cabanillas, Jehude Simon y los demás de su gobierno?

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