Amazon Indians in legal victory
A small community of Indians from the Peruvian Amazon has won a court case with potentially far-reaching implications for indigenous land rights in the country.
The Shipibo and Ese-eja Indians of Tres Islas community, in Peru’s south-east, went to court over a rash of illegal logging and goldmining that was destroying their territory.
Previous attempts by the community to block the entry of loggers and miners into their forests had been challenged in the regional courts.
The community took their case to Peru’s highest court, the Constitutional Court, which has now upheld their right to control outsiders’ access onto their lands.
The Court has ruled that indigenous peoples’ land is of such vital importance to their livelihood and survival that they must be able to control who has access to it.
However, it is not clear that the ruling gives the country’s Indians the right to block large-scale oil and gas exploration and drilling, which is affecting an increasing number of Peruvian Indians, including isolated groups.
Many Indian communities throughout the Peruvian Amazon, especially in the south-eastern region of Madre de Dios, have been blighted in recent years by massive, uncontrolled goldmining, as the price of gold has risen to record heights.
Related news articles
- Indigenous protestors acquitted over the Bagua Massacre in Peru 4 November 2016
- Loggers removed from uncontacted Indians’ land in Peru 20 May 2016
- Peru: Mercury poisoning “epidemic” sweeps tribe 10 March 2016
- India: BBC report reveals shocking impact of shoot-on-sight conservation – and WWF involvement 16 February
- Colombia: Sierra Nevada Indigenous leader murdered 10 February
- Uganda: Batwa “Pygmy” faces prison in the name of conservation 10 February
- Peru: Indigenous people sue government over uncontacted tribe 9 February