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The following is AIDESEP’s public statement regarding the trial starting on May 14, 2014, in Bagua, Peru. It was printed in the May 11 Sunday edition of La Republica, one of the largest newspapers in Peru. Thanks to Amazon Watch for the translation.

Climate – Forests – Peoples: We Are One
Respect for and non penalization of indigenous self-determination

A decisive phase for Peru and the world

Peru is passing through a decisive phase for both the jungles of the Amazon rainforest and its indigenous peoples. In the upcoming months the following issues will be debated and resolved: regulations for the Forestry Law, auctioning of 4 million hectares of forestry concessions to large corporations and expansion of oil / gas, oil palm, and destructive mining. All of this is happening while the country commits – via norms, plans, and promises to the international community – to reduce deforestation, pollution, and poverty in the Amazon. Peru will be put to the test, given that, “between words and actions, there is a long way to go.” This will particularly be the case from December 1 – 12, at the 20th conference of parties for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – UNFCCC (COP20), in front of more than 15,000 representatives from 195 countries, the United Nations, and civil society. It’s an event that confronts the largest challenge and tragedy of all time: What to do in order to not pass 2 decrees of catastrophic warming? What to do to keep alive the Amazon forest, of which Peru has the second largest extension? We have an unrepeatable opportunity to achieve decisive changes in Peru and the world in favor of continuity of life on the planet, which is our primary intergenerational responsibility.

 

Amazonian Plan for “Full Life”

AIDESEP – like a tree with deep roots that brings together 1,500 communities from 50 indigenous peoples, organized into 76 local and 9 regional organizations – reiterates the emergency need to transition from the resource extraction led development model toward harmony between nature-society-cultures, through a national plan that includes nine components:
* Titling of 20 million hectares: 1,167 communities (311 need to be recognized, 594 need to be titled, and 262 need to be expanded) communal reserves (6), territorial reserves (5) and collective ‘integral’ territory for 10 indigenous peoples;
* Priority for forests in current use: agroforestry, aquaculture, and bioindustrial production;
* Communal Forest Management and Indigenous REDD+;
* Intercultural health and education;
* Community-based socio-environmental monitoring and mitigation;
* Collective and citizen indigenous rights;
* Promotion of indigenous women and youth;
* Solution to community conflicts. This plan is fundable, dedicating at least 1% of the national budget (1.1 billion Soles) to 70% of the national territory, in addition to contributions from extractive industries and global climate / environmental funds.

 

Holistic Indigenous Forestry Management

A central component of this post-development model is Community Forestry Management (CFM), which needs to stop being the ‘back wheel of the car’. Indigenous peoples demand respect as the primary forestry actors given the 13 million hectares currently under indigenous community title, through measures like:
* Redefine the map of Permanent Production Forests (PPF) such that logging companies don’t invade indigenous communities;
* Finance CFM technical units within regional governments;
* Independent auditing of the failed “model of large forestry concessions” and sanctions for whomever is involved in “laundering illegal logging”;
* Cut out of the PPFs and logging concessions any area transited by indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation;
* Respect the indigenous right to original possession without limiting it by “procedures and time frames”;
* Develop indigenous peoples’ Forestry Management Plans by river basins and not just community by community; * Deal with the vacuum and invisibility of indigenous women in the regulation for the Forestry Law; * Don’t promote either forest plantations or monocultures.

 

Toward a COP20 for a Living Amazon and for all Humanity

The 13 million hectares of Amazonian indigenous property are a reserve of some 1,625 million metric tons of carbon or 5,947 million metric tons of CO2, the equivalent of the annual CO2 emissions of the USA. We are a global strategic actor even if we have been marginalized and the COP20 should take very seriously our proposals to guarantee a Live Amazon:
* REDD+ within indigenous territories needs to modified to our rights, cosmovisions, and proposals;
* Support for “Indigenous REDD+” as an alternative of “benefits beyond carbon and financing beyond the market”;
* Indigenous women: protagonists in adaptation integrated within mitigation;
* Include the development model (natural resource extraction, agro-industries; and mega-projects) within the prime drivers of deforestation;
* Substitute fossil fuel energy with alternative sources though not biofuels.

 

There is no climate solution while indigenous self determination is penalized

There is an absurd contradiction given that our peoples are defending and guaranteeing a ‘Live Amazon’ while at the same time the judicial system is repressing, penalizing and criminalizing our peoples and leaders. From June 5th, 2009 almost five years of injustice have passed leading up to this 14th of May, the beginning of the trial for what happened at the Devil’s Curve (the poorly named “Baguazo”). There are 54 accused indigenous individuals, of which six have requested sentences of 35 years to life. These include Alberto Pizango, President of AIDESEP, who wasn’t present in Bagua and was simply following his responsibility as Kampu Piyawi of obeying the mandate of indigenous peoples to fight for the respect of our rights. Our cultures and principles cannot be turned into ‘crimes’. It is completely unacceptable that the victims of repression end up being the only people accused, whereas there is complete impunity for those who ordered the violent aggression: the ex-President Alan Garcia, his Minister of Interior Mercedes Cabanillas and the implementer of the worst conceivable operation, Luis Muguruza, General of the Peruvian National Police. We demand the absolution of the 54 who defended the Amazon and our right to live with our indigenous identity in peace. In the end four anti-indigenous laws were struck down and investigations by the Peruvian Congress and the United Nations demonstrated that our struggle was just at the same time that the Consultation Law moved forward. Peru recognized that we were right, for which we are thankful. If the Amazon and our cultures were placed at the center of this tragedy, the lesson would be that we can live in peace when our identities are respected. Where there are indigenous peoples with rights, there will be forests and a living Amazon, from which Peru and the world will always benefit.

 

We call upon Peruvian and international indigenous organizations, plus allies and supporters, to be alert and to demand a fair trial which doesn’t allow impunity for those responsible for Bagua: A. Garcia, M. Cabanillas, and L. Muguruza. Issue statements and direct letters toward those government functionaries who are involved in the case. Support the Amazonian proposals around the Full Life Plan, community forestry management and a COP20 of Live Amazon for Indigenous Peoples and Humanity.

We call on the leaders of Peruvian political parties, who supported our struggle in 2009 while they were in the election campaign, to remember and to reiterate their position now that they are within or close to power, that that they shouldn’t carry the responsibility and impunity of the previous government.

 

Indigenous Amazonia Can Help Slow the Climate Crisis
Let’s Close the Wounds of Bagua, Not Reopen Them
Where Indigenous Peoples Have Rights, There are Forests, and Everyone Benefits

– AIDESEP National Steering Council 12 May 2014