We only have until this Friday to get Peruvian president Alan García to sign a much-needed bill that will provide Peru’s indigenous peoples with their long-awaited right to consultation on laws that will affect them. We are excited that Peru’s Congress approved the Law on the Right of Indigenous People to Consultation, but without President García’s signature, the bill will have no effect.
Indigenous peoples in Peru have faced a lot of discrimination and unfair treatment over the years. The government has been criticized for neglecting the rights of indigenous peoples to land and resources, specifically through the passing of laws that exploit indigenous land without consulting the indigenous peoples who own it. If García approves the Law on Consultation, it will become much more difficult for the government to exploit indigenous peoples’ land.
Recently, Amnesty International was particularly concerned over the detention without substantiated evidence of Albert Pizango, an indigenous leader blamed for inciting violence between police and indigenous peoples last June, when a community in Bagua protested the adoption of laws that would exploit their natural resources. However, at the time of the violence, Alberto Pizango was in Lima, hundreds of kilometers away, and he had made it clear that he was not calling for violence, but rather asking the government to annul a series of laws which were being passed without the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous people, as a first step to initiating a dialogue as equals. The violence led to the death of 33 people and the wounding of 200. Although Pizango has been released, the government has failed to pursue justice adequately in the case. Amnesty International will continue to pressure Peruvian authorities to end unfair treatment of indigenous peoples, which hopefully will stem the violence and tension between authorities and indigenous peoples.
Take action to get President García to sign the Law on Consultation as a first and necessary step to providing justice and equality for Peru’s indigenous peoples. Time is of the essence.