Alianza Arkana

The Arkana Alliance is committed to raising awareness about the current environmental and social crises in the Amazon; supporting the creation, connection and strengthening of strategic networks and regional and community-based alliances; and inspiring positive change at local, national and international levels to protect and preserve the people, environment, and ancient traditions of the Amazon Rainforest.
Mar 25, 2015

New agreement signed with Peruvian Government leaves room for doubt

Agreement with the government leaves room for interpretation: Is the agreement signed between indigenous leaders of the contaminated rivers in Loreto and Peruvian government a real recognition of the social and environmental damage?

Historical demonstration of indigenous capacity

After more than 3 years of dialogue in 2 multisectoral commissions, in 3 work groups and in endless sub-commissions and meetings, after countless travels forth and back from their far away communities to Iquitos and Lima, the indigenous leaders of the contaminated river basins in Loreto decided to sign the agreement on the negotiation table with the Prime Minister. Historical it is because of the enormous capacity showed by the indigenous organizations to use democratic mechanisms in order to reclaim their rights. Even though they have had enough of the government´s broken promises, the communities continued the process and stood up for their rights. At least 10 indigenous protest actions were registered on the Corrientes, Maranon and Tigre Rivers in the last 10 months. The latest actions in Andoas (Pastaza), Nuevo Remanente (Tiger) and Pampa Hermosa (Corrientes) were only ended recently (February- March 2015).

The right to have rights

The agreement includes: installation of provisional clean water systems, a toxicological and epidemiological study of the people in cooperation with the OPS (Organización Panamericana de Salud) that should be ready by next year, the implementation of an integral health plan for over 110,500 community members. Actions for intercultural education, electrification and agriculture are also on the list.

When it comes to remediation, the wording gets more generic. The state will guarantee the clean up by the responsible company within the framework of existing standards. To evaluate the company’s cleanup plan, the findings of the environmental taxation body - OEFA will be taken into account. At the same time, a 50 million soles guarantee fund will be created, for which – as says the actual law proposal - a good part will have to come from OEFA’s budget.

The same lack of specificity is kept when referring to the land titling: the Regional government - the responsible authority for the titling of indigenous communities, will (finally) start to do so.

In a nutshell: the agreement reaffirms that the state has to guarantee its’ citizens’ rights. The importance of the agreement is therefore the reaffirmation that indigenous peoples have the right to have rights in Peru.

No reason to celebrate

Although last Tuesday in Lima the official message was one of victory and joy announcing a renewed social pact between the state and the indigenous peoples, immediately after the official ceremony, the leaders themselves stated that there is no reason to celebrate. It calls the attention that no representative from the Tiger River was present.

First of all, the question is whether the state will accomplish the agreement, as there is a long list of unaccomplished acts and a much longer history of no-state presence in these remote areas.

Secondly, the wording used in the agreement leaves room for interpretation of what the next steps are. Will Pluspetrol clean up the areas already abandoned in 2011? Will the land titles include the areas where the installations were build on indigenous territory? Will the 50 million soles fund be sufficient taking into account Perupetro’s public statement that the remediation of oil lot 1AB will cost around 90 million USD? Will the old tubes and installations be replaced so that no new oil spills can occur?

Thirdly, the agreement does not address important unsolved issues as the valorization of land use and the compensation for the environmental, cultural and social damage. In that sense, an interesting precedent was created by five Achuar communities who presented last week, after years of trial, the extra judicial agreement they reached with the previous company and polluter Occidental Petrolueum.

New contract?

The present contract for the oil block 1AB (192) expires in August. The government is desperate to continue the exploitation in one of Peru´s most oil productive lands and to start the new bidding round. As the ILO-Convention 169 states, the indigenous peoples have to be consulted before signing a new contract. In this case, the government will have to ask for consent the peoplethat have suffered the consequences of oil exploitation for over 40 years. Are they satisfied with this agreement?

 

Mar 6, 2015

Update: Alianza Arkana Scholarship students

Percy with his parents
Percy with his parents

All the nine Shipibo students receiving scholarships to study at university to become professionals in the areas of teaching, law, agriculture and accountancy from Alianza Arkana completed their year at university for 2014. They are all at different stages of their degree programs.

We offer particular congratulations to one of our students, Percy, who successfully finished his five-year degree program in Primary Intercultural Education at the National Intercultural University of the Amazon in Pucallpa. He will be graduating in April 2016.

The last three months in education have been relatively quiet. This is because they are the long school summer holidays in Peru and the schools and universities are closed from mid-December until the beginning of March. During this time many Shipibo families temporarily migrate to other parts of Peru to work in poorly paid agricultural activities such as harvesting grapes and other crops.

Although the children have not been at school, we have continued to work on the agricultural project in the community of Santa Clara, which is attached to the school. The food produced in this project will be used in the weekly cooking and nutrition classes we are organizing with a group of mothers in the community, which will restart in March 2015.

Six of our scholarship students
Six of our scholarship students
Dec 29, 2014

Thanks for your support of the Quechua People

After the declaration of an environmental emergency in March 2013 and the declaration of a health emergency in April 2014 in the Pastaza river, the Peruvian government installed in May 2014 a Multisectorial Commission for Development, as a dialogue mechanism between the State and indigenous peoples to find solutions for the damages caused by more than 43 years of oil pollution in Pastaza.

 However, eight months after the installation of that Commission, and after numerous meetings, no solution has been found. During the last official meeting in November, the Prime Minister’s High representative admitted that it is not a matter of legal nor technical answers, it all depends on political will. He made the promise that during a meeting at the end of November, that is before the International Conference on Climate change would take place in Lima, answers would be given by the Prime Minister himself.

 None of that happened and during the Climate change conference the Peruvian government kept in silence the suffering of its peoples. Although the federation FEDIQUEP together with woman leaders and its environmental monitors tried very hard to denounce the situation on the international scene, by presenting and sharing the Pastaza movie on different occasions, little attention was paid to it on an official level. However new alliances were woven with social movements from Peru, Ecuador and across the world, and the Quechua women returned home obviously inspired and strengthened by the many women’s movements they met. The internationally recognized ethic Tribunal for the Rights Of Nature accepted the case of the polluted river basins of Loreto as a case of severe violation of the rights of nature and assigned it a special hearing in Peru in the very near future.

 The situation for the people of Pastaza is concerning. And there is more: PeruPetro, the company that promotes oil and mining inversion in Peru, announced the bidding of at least 26 new licences for 2015, including a new contract in the severely polluted area of oil block 1AB, now 192, on the Quechuas’ territory. In the meanwhile the operating company Pluspetrol is appealing against the fines imposed by the state’ environmental control body, and tries constantly to divide the communities by offering and negotiating amounts of money for the use of their territories.

 The federation FEDIQUEP and its communities face a very challenging year. 2015 takes off with too many pending questions and unsolved matters. The hard task for the Federation is to organize, unite and inform its communities even more and to re-strategize in the wake of the announced new oil contract on their territories. One of the key issues for 2015 will be the right to prior and informed consent in oil block 192.

 That is why we dare to ask your very necessary support again. Please help FEDIQUEP and its communities to stand up against the injustice of 43 years of oil contamination and to get real respect for the indigenous right to prior and informed consent.

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