Peru's congress overturned two presidential decrees that were at the heart of recent confrontations between indigenous peoples and police in the Amazon region. Indigenous peoples’ organizations opposed the decrees due to the possible consequences they could have for the Amazon rainforest and indigenous land rights, and stressed that the Peruvian government did not consult them about the content of the decrees prior to their adoption, as required by international law.
At least 30 people have been killed in recent weeks in violent confrontations between indigenous protestors and police. The overturn of these decrees now sets the stage for dialogue. Shortly after congress rescinded them, President Alan Garcia delivered a speech in which he said that his government should have included indigenous people in discussions about the decrees before he issued them.
The government of Peru is now initiating a commission to start a dialogue with indigenous people, and will include Oxfam's partner AIDESEP, which represents a highly diverse group of indigenous organizations from all over the Amazon region.
"Oxfam hopes this dialogue initiative will be an important first step toward lasting solutions based on indigenous peoples rights and ensuring strong environmental regulation of extractive activities in the Amazon," said Frank Boeren, Oxfam America's Deputy Director in South America.