Isolated Indigenous Peoples affected by genocidal project

The Peruvian Congress approved on Thursday, December 7 - on second ballot - Bill 1123/2016-CR that promotes the construction of roads and truck paths in Ucayali.

Servindi, December 13, 2017.- The Congress of the Republic of Peru approved on Thursday, December 7 - on second ballot - Bill 1123/2016-CR that promotes the construction of roads and truck paths in the Amazonian region of Ucayali, which will cause serious damage to the uncontacted peoples and natural protected areas.

The indigenous organizations affiliated to the National Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Jungle (AIDESEP) exhort the President of the Republic to exercise his right to observe and to not promulgate said legal proposal.

Both,the indigenous organizations and the entities specializing in environmental conservation argue that this is an arbitrary initiative, without legal basis and it violates international agreements and commitments in favor of forest conservation and the fight against climate change.

Julio Cusurichi Palacios, president of the Native Federation of the Madre de Dios River and tributaries (FENAMAD, in Spanish), warned through that this project is genocidal because it threatens the lives of the uncontacted and initial contact peoples.

The project of the Fujimori legislators has not received the favorable opinion of the public sectors involved and it is a violation of international human rights treaties.

What do the specialized agencies say?

One of the clearest explanations of why the approval of this initiative should be prevented is that given by Sociedad Peruana de DerechoAmbiental - SPDA (Peruvian Society of Environmental Law), describing the threats to life and biodiversity that this project proposed by the legislator, Glider Ushñahua from Fuerza Popular which is the main party, entails.

For example, Bill 1123/2016-CR obtained its first vote in favor when it was approved by the Committee on Transport and Communications and then by the Plenary Session of the Congress (in first vote).

However, this decision was not discussed with the Commission of Andean, Amazonian and Afro-Peruvian Peoples, Environment and Ecology of the Congress, nor with that of the Vice-Ministry of Interculturalism of the Ministry of Culture; the Vice Ministry of Human Rights and Access to Justice of the Ministry of Justice; the National Service of Protected Natural Areas; the Ministries of Environment and Health; nor the Ombudsman's Office.

Thus, this road project made its way despite several statements from these entities and ignoring principles and international instruments assumed by Peru.

On the other hand, SPDA explains, the incompatibility of this project collides even withPeru’s intentions to integrate the OECD, by omitting the recommendations given to the country.

For example, they point out that in the case of the US-Peru FTA, Article 18.3 recognizes that it is inappropriate to promote trade or investment through the weakening or reduction of the protection of their environmental laws, which is identical in Article 277 of the European Union-PeruFTA.

Likewise, the OECD on the environmental issue, also recommends protecting the under-represented terrestrial ecosystems and establishes as a requisite to be a member country to comply with its international commitments in environmental matters.

There are other alternatives

The analysis of the SPDA also indicates that roads are not the only possible means of interconnection. The Purús Development Action Plan is committed to the use of the Purús hydrographic network, enabling an air bridge between Esperanza and Pucallpa to transport passengers and for a multimodal articulation with Brazil to transportgoods and products that would leave Peru through Santa Rosa do Purús and return through Iñapari, in Madre de Dios, using the Brazilian inter-oceanic highway, without affecting Natural Protected Areas or indigenous territories.

More deforestation

There is a relation between deforestation and the impact of roads in areas like these, such as the case of Tahuamanu (Madre de Dios), which went from having a low deforestation level to one of the highest. Not to mention that there are other similar legislative initiatives that would be encouraged with the approval of this project.

However, the most serious danger this project poses are serious environmental threats for the indigenous uncontactedand initial contact peoples (PIACI, in Spanish).

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