Peru has ignored his forestry law for 8 years and continues to degrade forests putting PIACI at risk
Since 2015 the peruvian forestry law expressly prohibits awarding logging concessions in isolated indigenous peoples’ territories.
Regional governments of Peru, such as the regional government of the Loreto region, violate this law with impunity and without remedy until this day.
Wednesday, October 4, 2023.- The territories of the Indigenous Peoples in Isolation and Initial Contact (“PIACI” as they are known in Spanish) in Peru have been continuously invaded and depredated by legal and illegal extractive activities permitted and in some cases directly promoted by regional governments and by the national government, in clear violation of the Forestry and Wildlife Law (“LFFS” as it is known in Spanish) and its four reglementary decrees, which have been in force for eight years.
The express prohibition of granting logging concessions in the territories of Indigenous Reserves (reserves created under Peruvian law specifically to protect isolated indigenous peoples), as well as in areas in process for the creation of these reserves for the protection of the PIACI, are specified in the LFFS and its regulations, which have been in force since October 1, 2015. This law incorporated principles of governance, prior consultation, social inclusion, interculturality, ecosystemic approaches, continuous improvement, and transparency, which previously did not exist in Peruvian forestry legislation.
However, activities such as logging and drug trafficking are generating greater violence against indigenous organizations and human rights and environmental defenders and even entire native communities, in addition to the human rights violations they face due to other extractive activities that for decades have been permitted by Peruvian authorities including: mining, oil and gas production, road and highway construction, urbanization projects, large-scale agriculture or cattle grazing etc.
The case of the Regional Government of Loreto
One of the most worrying cases of systematic violations of the forestry law is that committed by the Regional Government of Loreto (GOREL). GOREL has granted, from 2015 onwards, 47 illegal logging concessions covering nearly three thousand square kilometers (equivalent to about 300,000 hectares) of the traditional territory of isolated indigenous peoples. Likewise, it has granted logging rights that have led to waves of massive invasions by loggers in the territories of Indigenous Peoples in Isolation (PIA). And, with this, it has been gravely affecting the Yavarí Tapiche Indigenous Reserve (See map) and the proposed Yavarí Mirim Indigenous Reserve (See map), which is also covered in the express prohibition established by the Forestry Law.
In May 2023, the Peruvian Judiciary ratified a final court ruling that requires GOREL to refrain from granting or reactivating logging concessions that overlap with indigenous reserves and proposed indigenous reserves that are in the process of creation. However, so far, the current management of the regional government of Loreto has not yet complied with this court ruling and has not annulled the illegal logging concessions. This case was also presented through a formal complaint regarding compliance with the environmental chapter of the Free Trade Agreement between Peru and the United States.
The double standard of the Regional Government of Loreto is severe because on the one hand, it grants illegal logging concessions in the territories inhabited by indigenous peoples in isolation and, at the same time, it participates in spaces where decisions are made about the mitigation of climate change, signing agreements to conserve forests and safeguard human rights. In this sense, the Inter-Ethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Forest (AIDESEP) presented a formal complaint to the Governors Climate Task Force (GCF) denouncing the violation of the rights of the PIACI and the Peruvian Forestry Law.
"Eight years have passed since the entry into force of the Peruvian Forestry and Wildlife Law and its regulations, which prohibit the granting of logging concessions in the created indigenous reserves and those that are in the process of creation, inhabited by our isolated indigenous brothers. However, we observe with great concern and sadness that the Regional Government of Loreto has been violating this law because, in recent years, it has granted more than 40 forestry concessions illegally in the areas of the Yavarí Tapiche (created) and Yavarí Mirim (in process) Indigenous Reserves. We call on the Peruvian State to annul these illegal logging concessions once and for all," said Apu Julio Cusurichi, indigenous leader of AIDESEP.
The Ministry of Culture, the Forestry and Wildlife Service (SERFOR), the Peruvian Ombudsman's Office (public defenders office), and the Indigenous Peoples Commission of the Congress of the Republic have sent more than 18 official letters to the Regional Government of Loreto (GOREL) advising that said logging concessions are “null and void” because they were awarded illegally in violation of Peruvian law, and formally request that they be immediately annulled. However, it is important to note that SERFOR, the national governing body in forestry matters and with powers to annul procedures of this nature, has not taken forceful legal actions against GOREL.
"Several institutions such as the Ombudsman's Office (public defenders office) and the Indigenous Peoples Commission of the Congress of the Republic have sent multiple documents asking GOREL to annul the illegal logging concessions that cover almost three thousand square kilometers of the territory of our PIACI brothers. We do not see the will of the authorities to annul these concessions and they continue to exist illegally and with total impunity to this day," said Julio Cusurichi.
The operations of logging concessions represent a massive invasion of the territory where isolated indigenous peoples live, who run the risk of contracting deadly diseases transmitted by the invaders (loggers) who enter these areas, drastically increasing the risk of mass deaths and genocide of the isolated indigenous people. Any operation that affects their food sources gravely harms these isolated indigenous peoples because to survive they depend 100% on the resources and good condition of their forests.
Indigenous leadership and struggle achieved the cancelation of the “PIACI genocide law”
Since 2022, GOREL has allied itself with dubious actors to help implement a political and disinformation campaign that denies the very existence of the indigenous peoples in isolation in Loreto. Likewise, it has organized at least three public forums to disseminate this opposition and in September of last year they launched the "Loreto NO to the PIACI Law" campaign. Then, in November 2022, media outlets around the world reported on a new proposed bill (Bill 3518/2022-CR) that threatened the existence of the PIACI and sought to weaken the law that protects them that has been in force since 2006.
This initiative, known as the PIACI genocide bill, was allegedly orchestrated by the Peruvian forestry and oil and gas sectors, together with the Regional Government of Loreto (GOREL) in order to modify the law that requires the State to establish and protect reserves for indigenous peoples in isolation (the aforementioned Indigenous Reserves) . Thanks to the efforts and pressure of AIDESEP, the Regional Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the East (ORPIO), other indigenous organizations and civil society organizations, the PIACI genocide bill was rejected in three commissions of the Peruvian Congress between May and July 2023, and with this, the law that currently protects indigenous peoples in isolation and initial contact (Law 28736) remained firm.
Peru's double discourse on indigenous rights and protection of isolated indigenous peoples (PIACI)
The positions of the Peruvian government abroad regarding the protection of indigenous rights, actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and the protection of biodiversity in the national territory are incongruent with the actions that take place inside the country. These actions carried out by entities such as GOREL sabotage national efforts to protect the Amazon, the climate goals of the Paris Agreement, COP 27 and the agreements of the Kunming-Montreal Biodiversity Convention, where the territories of Indigenous Peoples were formally recognized, and it was agreed that “all sustainable use, where appropriate in such areas, is fully consistent with conservation outcomes, recognizing and respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities.”
Dina Boluarte and indigenous peoples in Peru
In her message to the nation on July 28, President Dina Boluarte mentioned critical issues for the country such as deforestation, climate change and protection of indigenous peoples in her speech. However, apparently this speech was only an empty discourse without concrete action, which was evident in the previous months, when a legislative initiative (the aforementioned Bill 3518) threatened indigenous peoples in isolation and President Boluarte avoided commenting on the matter.
Amazon Summit left without a clear path to protect the region
At the Amazon Summit, which took place in Belém (Brazil) on August 8 and 9, President Boluarte constantly referred to indigenous peoples as “native communities” both in her statements and in the presidential communications during that regional event. This demonstrates that the government of Peru ignores and omits the right of these indigenous peoples to be recognized as nations, as established in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), in force since 2008. At that Summit and for the first time, the governments recognized that the Amazon is at the tipping point, however, leaders failed to outline a clear roadmap on how to address the enormous environmental challenges facing the rainforest and her peoples.
Peru’s political position in the 78th General Assembly of the United Nations
During her participation in the 78th General Assembly of the United Nations, in New York, on September 19, President Boluarte mentioned that the eight Amazonian countries that met at the Amazon Summit last August, agreed on conservation measures to prevent deforestation and avoid reaching the dangerous “tipping point”. She said that she supported indigenous “communities” and the protection of their land, culture, language, and practices. However, currently Congress and the Peruvian government are promoting many changes in legislation, especially in opening up protected areas to extractive industries, the reduction of institutional requirements and environmental regulations to facilitate the expansion of extractive projects (mining, oil and gas, and forestry etc.) with an enormous impact on the lands of indigenous peoples, which is not considered in the evaluation of these regulatory initiatives. This has been the dominant political vision since Boluarte took office in December 2022.
Amazon Watch: Ricardo Pérez, +51943992012, firstname.lastname@example.org
Avaaz: Raul Estrada, +525580196422, email@example.com
AIDESEP: Stephany Cadenillas, +51957628008, firstname.lastname@example.org
 Iniciativa para la Conservación de la Amazonía Andina (ICAA) (2015). Análisis de la Ley Forestal y de Fauna Silvestre. https://wwflac.awsassets.panda.org/downloads/leyforestal_compaginado.pdf  Inforegión (2023). Loreto: Identifican 28 pistas clandestinas no registradas por el Ministerio de Transportes. Inforegión, Septiembre 25, 2023. Disponible en: https://inforegion.pe/loreto-identifican-28-pistas-clandestinas-no-registradas-por-el-ministerio-de-transportes/  This map shows the logging concessions that overlap with the created Yavarí Tapiche Indigenous Reserve. AIDESEP 2023. https://aidesep.org.pe/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Mapa-Concesiones-Forestales-Ilegales-Reserva-Indigena-Yavari-Tapiche-2021-Final.pdf  This map shows the logging concessions that overlap with the proposed Yavarí Mirim Indigenous Reserve. AIDESEP 2023. https://aidesep.org.pe/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Mapa-Concesiones-Forestales-Superpuestas-Reserva-Indigena-Solicitada-Yavari-Mirim-2022.pdf  Instituto de Defensa Legal (IDL) (2022). Poder Judicial ordena al GOREL abstenerse de entregar concesiones forestales en las reservas indígenas de protección de pueblos en aislamiento. Noviembre 22, 2022. Disponible en: https://www.idl.org.pe/poder-judicial-ordena-al-gorel-abstenerse-de-entregar-concesiones-forestales-en-las-reservas-indigenas-de-proteccion-de-pueblos-en-aislamiento/; Instituto de Defensa Legal (IDL) (2023). Corte de Loreto confirma la sentencia que impide que se otorguen concesiones forestales en reservas indígenas para PIACI. Junio 14, 2023. Disponible en: https://www.idl.org.pe/corte-de-loreto-confirma-la-sentencia-que-impide-que-se-otorguen-concesiones-forestales-en-reservas-indigenas-para-piaci/ “The requesting party (AIDESEP) alleges that the Peruvian State has not effectively applied current environmental legislation due to the illegal granting of forty-seven forestry concessions in the Yavarí Tapiche Indigenous Reserve and the requested Yavarí Mirim Indigenous Reserve, in violation of the prohibition expressly established in the Peruvian Forestry and Wildlife Law – LFFS (Law No. 29763) and its Regulations.” Secretaría para las Solicitudes sobre Asuntos de Cumplimiento Ambiental del Acuerdo de Promoción Comercial (APC) Perú-USA (también conocido como TLC Perú-USA)(2023). Concesiones Forestales en Reservas Indígenas. Última actualización: 10 de abril de 2023 https://www.saca-seem.org/concesiones-forestales-reservas-indigenas/  AIDESEP. (2023). AIDESEP pide a Grupo de Gobernadores por el Clima y Bosques (GCF Task Force) acciones frente a violación de derechos indígenas de parte del Gobierno Regional de Loreto (GOREL). Mayo 31, 2023. https://aidesep.org.pe/noticias/aidesep-pide-a-grupo-de-gobernadores-por-el-clima-y-bosques-gcf-task-force-acciones-frente-a-violacion-de-derechos-indigenas-de-parte-del-gobierno-regional-de-loreto-gorel/  AIDESEP. (2023). Organizaciones indígenas e instituciones estatales pidieron al Gobierno Regional de Loreto anular concesiones forestales en territorios PIACI. Agosto 22, 2023. Disponible en: https://aidesep.org.pe/noticias/organizaciones-indigenas-e-instituciones-estatales-pidieron-al-gobierno-regional-de-loreto-anular-concesiones-forestales-en-territorios-piaci/  See: Article 7 of the Legislative Decree 1319, available in the following link: https://www.minam.gob.pe/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/DLeg-1319.pdf  Ver: https://www.facebook.com/goreloretoperu/videos/766369661316759 (“#VIVO || CONFERENCIA DE PRENSA CON MOTIVO DEL LANZAMIENTO DE LA CAMPAÑA "LORETO NO A LA LEY PIACI" #GOREL”); Coordinadora por el Desarrollo de Loreto - CDL. (2022). Exitoso lanzamiento de la campaña “Loreto no a la ley PIACI”, Loreto no está de acuerdo con la ley PIACI y sus efectos de crear reservas intangibles en perjuicio del desarrollo. 14 de septiembre de 2022. https://www.facebook.com/103356001493282/posts/594570582371819/  Selibas, D. (2023). Bill stripping Peru’s isolated indigenous people of land and protections scrapped. Mongabay, July 5, 2023. Available in: https://news.mongabay.com/2023/07/bill-stripping-perus-isolated-indigenous-people-of-land-and-protections-scrapped/ Sierra, Y. (2023). Perú: proyecto de ley pone en peligro a pueblos indígenas en aislamiento al negar su existencia. Mongabay, Febrero 6, 2023. Disponible en: https://es.mongabay.com/2023/02/proyecto-de-ley-pone-en-peligro-a-pueblos-indigenas-en-aislamiento-en-peru/  Gobierno del Perú. (2020). Perú ratifica sus compromisos asumidos en el Acuerdo de París e incrementará su ambición climática. Plataforma digital única del Estado Peruano. Diciembre 11, 2020. https://www.gob.pe/institucion/minam/noticias/320246-peru-ratifica-sus-compromisos-asumidos-en-el-acuerdo-de-paris-e-incrementara-su-ambicion-climatica  Gobierno del Perú. (2022). COP 27: Perú llama a la unión mundial para enfrentar la emergencia climática. Plataforma digital única del Estado Peruano. 15 de noviembre de 2022. https://www.gob.pe/institucion/minam/noticias/670004-cop-27-peru-llama-a-la-union-mundial-para-enfrentar-la-emergencia-climatica  CBD (2022.) Decisión Adoptada por la Conferencia de las Partes en el Convenio Sobre La Diversidad Biológica. Marco Mundial de Biodiversidad de Kunming-Montreal. CBD/COP/DEC/15/4. 19 de diciembre de 2022. https://www.cbd.int/doc/decisions/cop-15/cop-15-dec-04-es.pdf  Mensaje a la Nación obvió temas como deforestación, cambio climático y protección de los pueblos indígenas. https://www.actualidadambiental.pe/mensaje-a-la-nacion-obvio-temas-como-deforestacion-cambio-climatico-y-proteccion-de-los-pueblos-indigenas/  Luján, E. (2023) Dina Boluarte no distingue pueblos indígenas con “comunidades” pese a su asistencia a cumbre amazónica. Infobae, Agosto 10, 2023. Disponible en: https://www.infobae.com/peru/2023/08/10/presidenta-dina-boluarte-confunde-pueblos-indigenas-con-comunidades-pese-a-su-asistencia-a-cumbre-amazonica/  UN. (2008). Declaración de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas https://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_es.pdf  UN. (2023). Declaración de Perú, AGNU 78, Debate General, Su Excelencia Dina Ercilia Boluarte Zegarra, Presidenta. Septiembre 19, 2023. https://gadebate.un.org/en/78/peru