Letter voices concern over land grabbing in Ucayali

24 February 2018

Thirty eight international and national civil society organisations co-signed an urgent letter to the Peruvian authorities expressing deep concern at the increasingly dangerous situation faced by community leaders and their families of the community of Santa Clara of Uchunya. This is caused by illegal and aggressive land-grabbing in and around their territory. Community leaders fighting to protect their land and livelihoods have received death threats.

Recent events have further escalated tensions and increased the risks facing community leaders and those leading the indigenous Federation of Native Communities of Ucayali (FECONAU). A court injunction was issued against the palm oil company Plantaciones de Pucallpa SAC (now operating as Ocho Sur P SAC). It is being investigated for land-grabbing and deforesting more than 7,000 hectares of the ancestral territory belonging to the community.

The threats and attacks against the leaders form part of a wider context of growing violence and land trafficking. According to the letter, “community members continue to suffer the effects of the dispossession and destruction of their forests and watercourses with severe harmful impacts on their well-being, livelihoods and food security”.

The Peru Support Group is one of the signatories to the letter. We hope that the Peruvian government responds promptly by providing effective security for those leaders and community members at risk and guaranteeing their safety. Investigations into intimidation and land trafficking in the Ucayali region need to be started immediately, ensuring that those responsible are brought to justice. To deal with land grabbing, the authorities perhaps should issue a land title that covers the entire ancestral territory of Santa Clara de Uchunya and annul the “certificate of possession” illegally issued to third parties for land within the communities’ territory.

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