Peru - Victory and ongoing struggle of indigenous peoples for their lands and Amazon biodiversity

La Ley de la Selva causes protests and troubles the Alan García Government Following massive protests of indigenous groups in Peru this August, on Friday, August 22nd, the Peruvian Congress with a striking majority toppled two governmental decrees allowing for the privatisation and facilitated sale of indigenous and communal territories in the Amazon region. The 66 : 29 vote against the decrees 1015 and 1073 was a historic victory for Peru's indigenous peoples facing the destruction of their traditional environments and lifestyles due to oil, mineral and logging companies invading their lands. By this vote, Peru's governing party APRA under president Alan García suffered a bitter defeat after 12 days of civil disturbances culminating in the imposition of emergency rule in three Amazon regions and an ever-growing solidarity movement. Alberto Pizango, of the indigenous organisation AIDESEP, celebrated this moment as a step “towards a real democratic state designed for all Peruvians”. However, the struggle of Peru's indigenous peoples for their rights under ILO Convention 169 ratified by Peru is not yet over. While, as an outcome of these events, talks between government and indigenous representatives had been scheduled for September 19, the reconciliation process suffered a major setback when AIDESEP felt forced to leave the round table on the grounds of the government's failure to accept AIDESEP as the sole authorised representative of the protesting Amazon peoples. AIDESEP has threatened to take up protests again. On the other hand, as president Alan García refused to sign the derogation of the disputed decrees, they returned to Congress and have now been automatically approved of upon expiration of the 15 days deadline . Amazon communities have announced that they shall continue their efforts to save their forest environments from the negative implications of the “Ley de la selva” package of 32 laws promulgated on June 28, focussing on a possible derogation of decrees such as 1090 and 1064. Elke Rothkopf Vice Chair infoe e.V.