Servicios en comunicación Intercultural

Shipibo Leader Issued Amazonian Demands at the Permanent Forum

Servindi, May 5th 2017 – Ronald Suárez Maynas, president of the Shipibo Conibo Xetebo Council, outlined the serious threats facing the Peruvian Amazon during the 16th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, currently being carried out in New York City through May 5th.

The indigenous communications expert from the Shipibo people, and one of the founders of the Peruvian Network of Indigenous Communicators (REDCIP), demanded that the Peruvian government guarantee and expedite processes of communal land titling, put the brakes on natural resource extraction and suspend all mega-projects that pose a threat to uncontacted indigenous communities, especially projects related to corruption.

Suárez explained before the Permanent Forum how indigenous territories are being subject to violence and the rights of indigenous communities threatened. He demanded that governments, in particular the Peruvian State, recognize the self-determination of his indigenous people.

Below we include the discourse of Ronald Suárez, whose presence received much coverage amongst the media during the Permanent Forum as during the Peoples Climate March in which he participated at the side of the famous actor Leonardo DiCaprio, winner of the Oscar and active defender of indigenous peoples facing climate change.


Madame Chair, sisters, brothers 

I represent the voice of 35,000 inhabitants of the Shipibo Konibo Xetebo indigenous people, in the region of Ucayali within the Peruvian Amazon. Ucayali is characterized by high levels of violence carried out against indigenous peoples, primarily related to the seizing of land and extraction of forestry resources.

These threats have been increasing in recent years and well-known indigenous leaders from my region have been assassinated for defending their territories. Other activists face a situation of permanent intimidation.

There are different but related factors behind the violence, including racial discrimination, lack of access to justice, laws and policies that promote natural resource extraction while threatening our rights, the interest that transnational agro-industrial corporations have in accessing our lands, water, and other natural resources, and the lack of government capacity to protect us from abuses.

To mention one example: Currently, the territory and lives of members of the community of Santa Clara de Uchunya are facing serious problems because their ancestral territory has been under assault by the agro-industrial companies that form the Melka Group – known by the nickname “Forest Eaters” – which are still members of the London Stock Exchange.

As part of this systematic policy, some 13,000 hectares of forest were cut down. Where are we going to live? If our homes are destroyed, what future awaits our upcoming generations?

In this context as an indigenous people we have initiated a process of self-government which looks to exercise our self-determination.

For this we demand our integral recognition to allow us to consolidate our economy and our own organization.

Today, we demand that the Peruvian State:

  • Guarantee and accelerate the processes of territorial land titling.
  • Paralyze the expansion of natural resource extraction projects.
  • Suspend the implementation of infrastructure megaprojects, such as IIRSA, the Inter-Oceanic Train, which place in serious risk those indigenous peoples who are in situations of voluntary isolation.
  • Further, that these projects are associated with the cases of international mega-corruption.

Today, we demand that the Peruvian State:

  • Promote a sustainable future through a feasible and alternative development plan that respects nature and recognizes our collective knowledge and medicinal plants.

Ichabires Irake (thank you very much)


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