Malocas of Indigenous Peoples in voluntary isolation in the Yavari Tapiche River area, Peru. Image courtesy of ORPIO, 2016.
Update as of Monday, June 26, 2023 - On Friday, June 23, 2023, the Commission on Decentralization of the Peruvian Congress decided to archive the proposed Law 3518/2022, that could weaken the protection of the Indigenous Peoples in voluntary isolation and initial contact in the Peruvian Amazon. This decision was a big victory for the Indigenous organizations in Peru, which announced that they will continue to be alert to any threat that might be promoted against the Indigenous Peoples in voluntary isolation and initial contact, known in Peru as PIACI.
"This filing closes a chapter in the struggle of the Indigenous movement. We know that these anti-rights groups are going to react. We know how to defend and we demand that the Ministry of Culture make an effort to assume its role as the governing body in matters of PIACI and comply with the creation of Indigenous Reserves,” stated Apu José Murayari, Director at the Organizacion Regional de los Pueblos Indígenas del Oriente (ORPIO).
Original Story from Friday, June 23, 2023 – Today the Commission on Decentralization of the Peruvian Congress will debate the proposed Law 3518/2022, that would weaken the law that protects Indigenous Peoples in voluntary isolation and initial contact in the Peruvian Amazon, sometimes referred to as uncontacted Indigenous Peoples. The proposed law could threaten their very survival, according to Indigenous and civil society organizations in Peru.
Last Monday, the Indigenous Peoples Commission in the Peruvian Congress recommended that the proposal be archived. The commission noted that the proposal would mean a serious setback to the rights of isolated Indigenous Peoples. It also warned that the bill would be unconstitutional and would violate Peru's international obligations.
Now the decision is pending a final ruling by the Commission on Decentralization, chaired by Congresswoman Diana Gonzales (Avanza País).
The bill, presented by representative Jorge Morante (Popular Force), would transfer the powers to reduce and eliminate reservations for Indigenous Peoples in isolation from the Ministry of Culture to regional governments, removing the Ministry of Culture from the process. Some regional governments have questioned the existence of Indigenous Peoples in voluntary isolation, and aligned themselves with the extractive industries interested in the natural resources found within the reserves. If given the power to do so, Indigenous organizations fear that some regional governments could do away entirely with protections for Indigenous Peoples in voluntary isolation and initial contact.
The reserves are in some of the most remote and intact regions of the Peruvian Amazon – one of the most biodiverse places on Earth; occupying some 4,116,336.39 hectares. In addition to the potential loss of entire cultures, opening them to extractive industrial activities could generate a massive loss of forests of vital importance to humanity.
Indigenous organizations claim that the proposed law would benefit oil interests, illegal loggers, miners and even traffickers. Numerous Indigenous, human rights and environmental organizations have warned about the risks that the approval of this bill would imply for the rights, territory and lives of Indigenous Peoples in voluntary isolation and initial contact, which are considered the among the most vulnerable populations in the world.
For press inquiries:
Email Tulio Toche Martínez, Press Officer at Organizacion Regional de los Pueblos Indígenas del Oriente (ORPIO) // +51 931588678.