The violence caused at least 4 deaths and the detention of Rev. Marco Arana. Friends of the Earth International supports the following statement to the Peruvian government and embassies around the world.
We wish to express our contempt for the alarming increase of repression and violation of fundamental rights seen in Peru as the government´s response towards the environmental conflicts in recent months.
For weeks, this completely irresponsible and disproportionate response, with the indiscriminate use of firearms even from helicopters against demonstrators and pedestrians has killed four people and left tens of people wounded in the El Espinar conflict in the Cusco Department; one person has died and various left with gunshot injuries in Bambamarca; in the protests of the town of Celedín in Cajamarca against the Conga mining project which threaten the contamination and disappearance of water sources of the region, three have died and tens of people left with gunshot injuries.
In the same context, we denounce the violent and arbitrary detention of Father Marco Arana, a member of the environmentalist organization, Group for Training and Intervention for Sustainable Development (GRUFIDES), one of the community´s role models in the resistance against the mining industry and leader of the political party ¨Tierra y Dignidad¨ (¨Land and Dignity¨), as was recorded by the media. See video here of the detention.
All this has been accompanied by extraordinary measures and the deprivation of freedom through a declaration of a state of emergency in both conflicts. With the precedents in Honduras and Paraguay, we fear that we will find ourselves before a dynamic increase in the suspension of the rights and freedom of the population in various countries in Latin America, especially linked to the defense of the interests of different multinationals and their extractive businesses. For these reasons:
- We express our deepest indignation to the government of Peru; we implore you to put an immediate end to the repressive increase and to assume your historical responsibility to be the guardian of the Human Rights of the Peruvian population.
- We appeal to social organizations, NGOS for international cooperation, human rights entities, public institutions and others, to actively engage in defending the rights and freedom to impede an authoritarian change in Peru, and to defend a resolution of the conflicts in accordance with the right to have free access to all information about the affected communities and towns.
- We request a clarification of all the facts which have led to these serious events and which have brought about the grief in these areas.
- We demand the multinational company of Newmont, which leads the Conga project, to issue a statement on the violent and illegal actions of the Peruvian government.
As civil society organizations we will keep a watchful eye on the development of the happenings in Peru, with widespread dissemination of information related to it and alerting international entities on the repressive politics of the Peruvian government that violate and infringe the agreement signed by both parties regarding the rights of the towns.
We will continue to lend our support and solidarity in accompanying the affected areas, to the social and communal organizations, as well as their local authorities and especially to the families of the victims.