|The Harakmbut are one of three indigenous groups in south-east Peru saying ‘NO’ to Hunt Oil and Repsol-YPF. © Dilwyn Jenkins/Survival|
Indigenous people from south-east Peru are suing Repsol-YPF and US company Hunt Oil over their plans to explore for oil on their land.
Local indigenous organisation FENAMAD has filed a lawsuit asking for an injunction to be placed on both the companies’ activities. The suit argues that the government did not consult with local people before giving the companies permission to work there, as is required under international law, and oil exploration would violate local peoples’ fundamental human rights to ‘enjoy a balanced environment’.
Hunt and Repsol-YPF own the rights to explore in an area known as ‘Lot 76’, which includes land belonging to the Yine, Matsigenka and Harakmbut tribes. At the heart of the Lot is the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, used by many villages in the region and the source of six rivers that are the only fresh water supply for an estimated ten thousand people.
‘FENAMAD hopes that this legal action will paralyze any activity inside the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, as otherwise the very existence of Madre de Dios’s indigenous peoples would be put at risk,’ said FENAMAD spokesperson Jaime Corisepa.
Representatives of villages potentially affected by the exploration met with two Hunt employees at a recent meeting organised by FENAMAD. The representatives told Hunt they rejected the company’s presence on their land.
Watch a film of the meeting with Hunt (in Spanish), entitled ‘See how the Peruvian Amazon’s indigenous peoples say ‘NO’ to Hunt Oil company’.