Violations of the indigenous peoples right to be consulted by the Companies Hunt Oil and Repsol and the Peruvian State (ILO Convention No. 169, Peru Supreme Decree No. 012-2008-EM and United Nations Declaration on the Rights of
Allocation of the Block 76
In 2006, the Peruvian Government granted a concession for oil and gas exploration called Block 76 to Hunt Oil Company of the United Status and Repsol of Spain, over nearly all of the territory of the Amarakaeri Comunal Reserve (RCA) and of the native communities charged with its management, without having conducted a free and informed prior consultation, nor any evaluation of the compatibility of such activity with the protected area, required by the Law for Natural Protected Areas in Peru.
Irregularities in the Approval of the Master Plan and the Environmental and Social Impact Study
The direct beneficiaries of the RCA decided that the headwaters of the river basins must be the Strict Protection Zone (ZPE) within the reserve. Thus, in April 2007, the Master Plan coordinators presented the document with the zoning developed with participation of the indigenous peoples, which included the ZPE.
However, in July 2007, representatives of the Intendancy of Natural Protected Areas of the State (IANP) presented a new proposal that did not include a ZPE anywhere. Their arguments were a lack of technical justification for that determination. But then the IANP employees admitted that there was political pressure at high levels to exclude the ZPE and referred to the presence of an oil company that intended to conduct explorations in the areas proposed as ZPE. These employees then proposed a Wilderness Area that would restrict but not prohibit human intervention with a smaller area in the headwaters that could remain as a ZPE.
The indigenous representatives of the RCA, in spite of their lack of technical understanding of the zoning, decided to trust the IANP employees and accepted the proponed changes to allow for the initiation of RCA protection activities. The IANP employees emphasized to the indigenous leaders that “There is nothing to worry about. The oil company will not enter the RCA because there will be strict protection of the headwaters of the rivers and the wilderness zone does not allow human presence nor activities in the headwaters of the rivers. That is what they said.” (indigenous leaders).
In spite of these assurances, the Master Plan modifications regarding hydrocarbons and all that conditioned oil exploration in the RCA were deliberately modified to allow for oil exploration within the RCA and in the most vulnerable area of that territory, the headwaters of the rivers.
On December 28, 2007, during the year’s end holidays, the IANP called a meeting in which four of the eight indigenous representatives in the management of the protected area could not participate and without the presence of the indigenous federation’s technical and legal advisors. The Chief of the RCA, an IANP employee, proposed that the participants approve the Master Plan and indicated that there were no significant changes but only a few modifications that did no affect the objectives for the creation of the RCA and were made only to make the text more readable. In spite of doubts and distrust on the part of the participants who had insisted upon the presence of a legal advisor to ensure that the content had indeed suffered no significant changes, those indigenous representatives found themselves obliged to sign the act approving the Master Plan with the modifications detailed above.
The modifications made to the Master Plan had not been discussed at any time with the beneficiary communities, much less with the leadership council of FENAMAD and its technical team, but rather reflected the criteria and interests of the oil company itself. Only a few members, in the presence of the park guards approved those changes, although with many doubts and concerns.
When the remaining indigenous representatives and the beneficiary communities learned of this situation, they condemned the resolution and requested the immediate change of the Chief of the RCA and of the President representative of the protected area, ECA-RCA. Moreover, they demanded that the December act of approval be nullified and that the document approved the previous July, in which the only change was to replace the ZPE for a Wilderness Zone in much of the area and a ZPE for the headwaters of the rivers (Denunciation of Irregularities in the Process of Approval of the Master Plan for the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, in Pronunciamientos Nº. 9 – of January 23, 2008; link: http://www.fenamad.org/docus2.htm#3 )
In spite of the opposition of the beneficiary communities to the modified content regarding hydrocarbons and zoning of the RCA in its PM, the IANP (now SERNANP) approved the Master Plan with the changes mentioned above.
With this “approval” the oil company carried out its Environmental and Social Impact Study (EIAS) for Seismic Prospection in Block 76. The results of this study are completely irresponsible and do not describe any reality for the area. It was approved illegally and unconstitutionally, in spite of the observations made by a group of professionals from civil society in Madre de Dios.
The Communities rejection
On August 20, 2009 at a meeting in the Diamante Native Community, all of the native communities bordering the RCA soundly rejected hidrocarbons operations within the RCA, and tasked the Madre de Dios Native Federation, FENAMAD, with legal action to paralize exploration operations of the oil company within their ancestral territory, the RCA. (Perú: Comunidades Nativas de Amarakaeri rechazan ingreso de Hunt Oil Company (http://www.servindi.org/actualidad/15704).
On September 4th, employees of Hunt Oil Company approached FENAMAD to negotiate compensation for oil exploration within the RCA. The response they received was the decision taken in the August 20th meeting. Not satisfied with that decision, Hunt Oil Company requested a meeting with representatives of the beneficiary communities of the RCA for September 13th, and agreed to paralyze their exploration activities in the RCA until that date. For that purpose, the new Chief of the ECA-RCA was invited by the oil company to verify the paralization of operations in the RCA territory.
On September 9th, FENAMAD took legal action presented an injunction order (acción de amparo) against the two oil companies, Hunt and Repsol, in defense of the RCA, as requested by the beneficiary communities. (Peru: Interponen acción de amparo contra empresas en defensa de Reserva Amarakaeri, en: http://www.servindi.org/actualidad/16388).
On September 13th, the meeting was held with representatives of all of the native communities beneficiaries of the RCA with employees of Hunt Oil Company. This meeting was also attended by the Chief of the Agency for Management of Natural Protected Areas of SERNANP, Marcos Pastor, who had not been invited. This official made his case, in a despotic manner, before the representatives of the communities that the oil exploration activities are legal, arguing that the Master Plan had been approved in these terms, and tried in an authoritarian manner to oblige the community representatives to accept continuation of exploration operations by the oil company in the RCA. Finally, the communities expressed their positions, and agreed to vote on the matter to show their ultimate decisions in this matter. The result was that of the eight beneficiary communities present, five (Shipetiari, Puerto Azul, Masenawa, San José de Karene and Barranco Chico) voted against the oil company, while three (Shintuya, Puerto Luz and Diamante) voted to negotiate with the oil company. On the basis of this decision, the representatives of the company withdrew from the meeting together with the Chief of the Natural Protected Areas Management Agency of SERNANP, who threatened the Chief of the RCA, a Harakmbut native and SERNANP employee, that he would be without a job next year. (How the Amazonian indigenous leaders say NO to Hunt Oil Company in the final part of video II, at: http://fenamad-indigenas.blogspot.com)
Hunt Oil’s divisionist strategy
The current strategy of the US company Hunt Oil is to negotiate directly with the members of each native community and seek to divide them and provoke open confrontation among the brother indigenous people within each community. FENAMAD denounced acts of corruption of a few indigenous leaders who act behind the backs of their communities in the manner in which they have accept entry of the oil company in their titled communal lands. Similarly, they have attained a change of position of the President of the ECA – RCA, who is being utilized by the company and SERNANP to make declarations contradictory to the decision made by the native communities he represents.
The President of the ECA – RCA reassumes the liedership of the RCA’s defence and gives an ultimatum to Hunt Oil in order that it leaves the protected area (see: http://fenamad-indigenas.blogspot.com/).
The meeting in Salvación
On October 26th, in the town of Salvación, we decided to initiate a dialogue with your company, where we demanded your presence and the presence of high level officials of the Peruvian Government (Environment Minister, Energy and Mines Minister, President of the Council of Ministers and Congress) with decision-making powers for a meeting planned for the October 28th, in order to resolve our claims.
On October 28th, there was no response to the peaceful claims of the natives communities and local population, because the aforementioned authorities did not arrived and no solution was given despite our hopes. For this reason we decided to leave, giving your company a deadline of 15 days to definitely leave the RCA. Contrary to this, the communities will remove the workers from the areas occupied without authorisation.