Indigenous communities reject Decree 1333 U-turn

13 May 2017

On 8 May, indigenous organizations forming the Pacto de Unidad, a coalition of six indigenous organisations with a national reach, voiced concern at attempts by the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) to block an initiative in Congress that would have repealed Legislative Decree No. 1333.

The Kuczynski administration had issued the decree at the beginning of the year as part of its package of measures to promote private investment in infrastructure projects. Indigenous and human rights organizations raised concerns at the time about Decree 1333. They claimed it jeopardised the rights of indigenous communities to their ancestral lands.

In March, the Constitutional Commission in Congress resolved to quash the decree since it considered it infringed indigenous and peasant territorial rights. However, during plenary sessions on 4 May, Congress somehow omitted to debate and/or ratify the committee’s decision.

Communities now fear the decree will be implemented willy-nilly. They point to the lack of any prior consultation about the decree’s content prior to its enactment, notwithstanding the serious repercussions it would have for their livelihoods.

As we have mentioned before, Decree 1333 creates a “special project for access to land for priority investment projects” under the aegis of Proinversión, the agency in charge of promoting private investment.

The decree enables the agency to obtain legal control of territories (saneamiento físico legal) identified for private investment, irrespective of prior forms of possession. It allowed Proinversión to “define the need for the reallocation of communities, coordinate with the necessary entities, and to call for (communal) assemblies” Under the Peruvian constitution, communities alone have the right to convene such assemblies.
The Pacto de Unidad strongly criticised the way the MEF has dealt with the issue, bearing in mind that the government had publicly announced that it and indigenous organizations had reached agreement at a meeting on 28 April. No such agreement was reached, the Pacto claims. Indeed, it had specifically asked Congress to reconsider Decree 1333 due to its negative ramifications for indigenous territories.

All news

  • Historical Overview

    Over the past century Peru has suffered a series of autocratic governments and a civil war in which nearly 70,000 people died. Many of the country's ongoing political and social problems are a legacy of its somewhat turbulent past. 

  • Society and Conflict

    Peru’s indigenous and peasant communities continue to suffer political marginalisation and discrimination. Insufficient consultation with such groups over political and developmental decisions has fostered feelings of disenfranchisement and led to elevated levels of social conflict.

  • Climate Change

    Two important reports on the impacts of climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC ) Special Report on Emissions Scenarios and the Stern Review, place Peru as one of the countries that will be most affected by the effects of climate change.

  • Why join the PSG?

    • Keep up to date with latest news and developments in Peru
    • Learn about key issues of poverty, development and human rights in Peru
    • Support the work of the Peru Support Group

    Become a member