|Large numbers of police and indigenous protesters died near Bagua on June 5th. |
© Thomas Quirynen
Senior figures in Peru are clamping down on both Peruvian and foreign NGOs in the wake of the violent protests which erupted in the country on 5th June.
The Congressional Foreign Relations Committee is examining a proposal to restrict the funding of Peruvian NGOs by outside agencies. Many indigenous organizations receive financial support from Western funding agencies, and have done for decades.
In a related development, a senior Congressman, Luis Gonzales Posada, has attacked Survival International and Amazon Watch for ‘promoting a campaign of slander against Peru’, and has suggested the government sue them for $100 million. President Garcia has also falsely alleged that ‘international NGOs’ have incited the violence.
Stephen Corry, Director of Survival International, said today, ‘Rather than worrying about the activities of NGOs, the Peruvian authorities and Congressmen ought to be seriously worried about what the events of the last 11 days have done to Peru's international reputation, which lies in tatters.
‘The truth about what happened at ‘the Amazon’s Tiananmen’ is slowly emerging, but what is really needed is an independent and impartial inquiry. Already it seems clear that a large number of indigenous people have disappeared, and that is obviously very worrying.
‘Whilst it is important to condemn unreservedly the killings of police officers, the blame for the tragic events seems to lie primarily with the extremely heavy-handed police tactics, but more fundamentally, with the Garcia government's aggressive push to open up the Amazon to oil, gas and logging firms over the heads of the indigenous communities whose home it is.
‘Survival International is also very concerned at attempts to demonize AIDESEP, which is a long-established and highly-respected organization. Its founder, Evaristo Nugkuag, won the Alternative Nobel Prize.’
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