International Rights of Nature Tribunal Lima, Peru

Judge: Veronica Mendoza

Presenter: José Fachín, Perú Expert: Alfonso Pérez, Aurelio Chino, Perú Affected: 4 madres indígenas, Perú

In northern Peru four river basins which are tributaries to the Amazon river, have been polluted by more than 43 of years of oil contamination, destroying ecosystems, human being, and life itself in the deepest regions of the Amazon. Between 2013 and 2014 the four rivers, Maranon, Tiger, Pastaza and Corrientes, were declared in state of environmental emergency. Peruvian government implemented a Multisectoriel commission to find immediate solutions for the environmental , cultural and social damages of more than 43 years of uncontrolled oil exploitation. But so far no solution has been brought to these rivers. Instead or on top of that, Peru is weakening environmental standards and control , and keeps on persecuting land defenders. The indigenous federation of Quechua of Pastaza (FEDIQUEP) will talk about 40 years of suffering of the living beings of Pastaza through the emblematic case of the loss of the Shanshococha lake. The organization of ACODECOSPAT (Kukama Kukamiria) will present the case of the contaminated National Reserve Pacaya Samiria where this year no less than three big oil spills occurred.

Verdict of the Tribunal:

The Indigenous peoples who live in the Amazonian basins of Pastaza, Tigre, Corrientes, and Marañón of northern Peru include Quechua, Achuar, Urarinas, Kichwa, Kukamas Kukamirias peoples who have suffered 43 years of oil activities in their territories.

The area was once virgin forest, inhabited by herds of mammals such as peccaries, tapirs and deer and many varieties of reptiles. The lakes and rivers had abundant fish stocks. Forest spirits guarded the mountains. According to testimony, it is currently difficult to find these mammals; the fish including gold, shad, paco, gamitana and others no longer exist in quantities as before. Even the spirits have fled. Streams and lakes have become dry and dead. Algae, plankton and phytoplankton are contaminated with toxic chemical spills. They have poured millions of barrels of formation water directly into rivers. These waters contain oil and heavy metals, and are expressed at high temperatures affecting aquatic life.

Between 20 and 25 thousand people in more than 100 indigenous communities have lived in the area which today is in extreme peril. These communities traditionally live in harmony with nature, but have now lost their food sovereignty. Their health, their life, and their ancestral knowledge have been violently modified and in many cases their spiritual relationship with nature has been broken. As never before, they are confronting prostitution, domestic violence, alcohol abuse, and abandoned children.

Admission was requested.

The Tribunal accepted the case and determines that a special session be convened to hear the case in in more detail in Peru.

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