Amazon in Emergency

President of Peru Asked to Address the Humanitarian Emergency in Indigenous Communities of the Amazon

In the context of COVID-19, more than 100 Peruvian and international civil society organizations support the demands of Peru’s indigenous organizations.

Through a public letter addressed to the President of Peru, Martín Vizcarra, more than a hundred organizations of Peruvian and international civil society ask for the implementation of urgent and immediate measures, in view of the deaths of hundreds of indigenous people from the Amazon due to COVID-19, and to start the dialogue demanded by the national indigenous organization AIDESEP more than a month ago. In response to pressure from indigenous organizations, the government has announced some relief measures, but these have not yet been implemented. More than five months after the pandemic emergency was declared, Amazonian communities still do not have access to medicine, medical care and safe food that would allow them to survive this health crisis.

The letter also requests to postpone the reactivation of economic and extractive activities that put the health of indigenous communities at risk. Considering the social and environmental impacts and the high level of illegality of many of these activities, the signatories share the mistrust that indigenous peoples feel regarding implementation, compliance and monitoring of biosafety protocols.

The attacks, threats and murders of indigenous leaders that have continued and worsened during the pandemic, as well as the recent confrontation in Requena with at least three indigenous people – William López Ijuma, Chemilton Flores Crispin, Elix Ruiz Ortis – killed, and dozens injured, are evidence of the precariousness, abandonment and desperation in which the indigenous communities of the Peruvian Amazon find themselves. We consider that explicit mention of the vulnerability of the Indigenous Peoples in the speech of the President of the Council of Ministers, Walter Martos, before the Congress of the Republic, is a good sign and we hope that marks the beginning of immediate implementation of the urgent necessary actions.

We attach the letter and the institutional signatures, in alphabetical order.

Contacts for the press:

Indigenous organizations: Lizardo Cauper, Asociación Interétnica de Desarrollo de la Selva Peruana (AIDESEP). [email protected]

Peruvian NGOs: Magaly Avila, Proética. [email protected]

International NGOs: Julia Urrunaga, Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). [email protected]

Photo Credit: Daniel Pérez Peña / FENAMAD