Sunday, June 14, 2009

This is what the Peruvian gov't has released regarding the violence. I can't believe they are still only saying that 9 indigenous protestors died.

The Embassy of Peru would like to state that our Government very much regrets the loss of lives of both the policemen and indigenous protesters, and hopes for the prompt recovery of all those injured.

For the past two months and even when violence erupted, Peruvian authorities had been working in good faith to identify and solve through peaceful dialogue some claims raised by indigenous peoples who were concerned about the impact that legislation recently enacted on the exploitation of oil, gas and other resources might have on certain lands.

This legislation guarantees 12 million hectares for the benefit of 400,000 Peruvian Amazonian ethnic people and protects 15 million hectares that had been granted the status of ecological sanctuaries and natural parks.

Unfortunately, some people who took upon themselves to lead the indigenous people were interested in upsetting democracy and affecting the Peruvian population as a whole. Hence, they misled the indigenous people into organising violent protests, disrupting water and energy supplies and blockading roads and pipelines.

Ultimately, they also took hostages among policemen sent to prevent further disruption of public services, tortured them and killed 22 of them after they had surrendered to the mob.

In addition, nine indigenous protesters died, 24 policemen and 155 people were left injured and 72 were placed under remand to be charged before Peruvian courts.

Once the violence subdued, individuals who misled the indigenous people escaped to avoid taking responsibility for their actions, among them Alberto Pizango who chaired an organisation called AIDESEP which has been receiving donations whose use in benefit of the indigenous population is yet to be explained.

Nevertheless, other indigenous leaders who are clearly more representative of their people have expressed their willingness to resume working with the authorities to clarify their claims and to solve them peacefully as well as to contribute to enquiries to determine the responsibility of those who enticed violent actions. Among the actions being taken in the aftermath of the protests is the Constitutional Court of Peru will assess provisions in the legislation that the indigenous people consider as affecting their interests and amend them if that is the case.

Charge d’Affaires,
Embassy of Peru.

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