Vizcarra taken to task for failure to respond to community concerns

5 August 2018

Perhaps President Martín Vizcarra can be forgiven for excluding some issues from an Independence Day speech directed mainly at the issue of judicial reform, but he has been taken to task for mentioning virtually nothing about defending the rights of communities threatened by extractive industries.

In an opinion piece published last week, Cooperacción criticises Vizcarra for hardly mentioning environmental issues. While he referred to the recently promulgated Law on Climate Change, nothing was said over how this would be implemented in practice and how it would square with the clearly-identified objective of encouraging investment in sectors like hydrocarbons in the Amazon jungle. 

While Vizcarra identified the mining projects that are due to come on stream in the next few years, he did not refer to the need for policies to ensure that these avoid polluting neighbouring human settlements. Nor was mention made of the policy of territorial management (ordenamiento territorial), abandoned by the last minister for the environment.

Aidesep, the entity that represents indigenous communities across the Peruvian jungle, also issued a statement criticising Vizcarra for much the same lacunae. While it welcomed some elements of the speech, Aidesep highlights the fact it said little about key concerns such as land titling and the failure to respect indigenous land tenure. It called for greater autonomy to be granted to indigenous communities to manage their own affairs. 

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