PUBLIC STATEMENT BY THE INSTITUTO DEL BIEN COMÚN

The Instituto del Bien Común condemns in the strongest terms the murders of two members of the Kakataibo people, Herasmo García Grau and Yenes Ríos Bonsano, which occurred last weekend in the Peruvian Amazon; where in less than a year four indigenous Kakataibo and two Asháninka have died, while defending the territory of their communities.

We emphasize that these murders are not isolated events, but rather respond to an escalation of violence by organized crime against native communities, indigenous leaders, and custodians of common property, in the Kakataibo territory (Ucayali and Huánuco), in the Asháninka territory (Huánuco, Pasco and Junín) and in other areas of the Peruvian Amazon. Several indigenous leaders are currently threatened and have been the target of attacks.

This violence is intensified by the legal precariousness of the indigenous territories, where the State itself hinders the titling of native communities through disproportionate demands, such as the classification of soils, to only title the lands of agricultural aptitude and cede forest use, making in practice extremely cumbersome and time consuming to obtain a communal property title. Added to this, some officials deliberately delay the titling and georeferencing processes of the communities. These delays give rise to land invaders and illegal predators of natural resources taking advantage of the situation and attacking community leaders when they defend their ancestral territories.

The invasion of indigenous territories by actors operating outside the law, added to the passive role of the State, is a high risk of internal security leading to a rapid loss of the rule of law in wide areas of the national territory.

We alert the international community, exhort the authorities and appeal to the President of Peru, Mr. Francisco Sagasti to take prompt and energetic measures that offer security to threatened indigenous leaders and their families, and provide peace of mind to the Amazonian peoples in their ancestral territories. Likewise, we urge the Peruvian government to strengthen the protection of the Amazon, one of the greatest common goods of humanity, which today plays a crucial role in mitigating global climate change.