Peru: Alterations to Forestry Legislation Pose Threat to Indigenous Peoples' Survival, Warns UN Expert

UN experts cautioned that proposed changes to Peru's Forestry and Wildlife Law could legitimize and promote the removal of Indigenous Peoples from their territories, putting their physical and cultural existence at risk.

“This legislation will affect the ancestral territories of the Amazonian peoples of Peru,” said Francisco Cali Tzay, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.

The expert highlighted that while the law mentions native and peasant communities as well as Indigenous Peoples in voluntary isolation, it lacks a consultation process aimed at securing their free, prior, and informed consent.

“This situation could encourage greater pressure towards indigenous territories and their biological, cultural, environmental and spiritual integrity,” the expert warned.

Furthermore, the expert expressed deep concern over the country's forest governance regression, which ignores the dangers faced by indigenous and environmental defenders who resist illegal activities in their forest territories, including threats, attacks, and killings.

“In recent years, 33 indigenous leaders have been murdered, including the leader of the Kichwa people, Quinto Inuma. These reforms seem to ignore that territorial dispossession is the driving force of violence against indigenous leaders and implies a withdrawal of the State in rural areas,” Tzay warned. 

For the full press release, visit the website of the OHCHR.