Six deaths in Ucayali land grab
09 September 2017
The Federación de Comunidades Nativas de Ucayali y Afluentes (Feconau) has denounced the killing of six small-scale farmers (agricultores) in a conflict over deforestation in the district of Nueva Requena, Ucayali region. Members of the Shipibo ethnic group have sought to resist the inroads of mono-cultivation (primarily of rice and cacao) by commercial agriculturalists. The Feconau claims that its leaders have suffered harassment and death threats. The killings apparently took place on 1 September.
Local farmers and indigenous peoples have long been denouncing the progressive deforestation that has been taken place on land belonging to their community, criticising the local agencies of the state (and in particular the regional authorities in Ucayali) for failing to respond to repeated calls for demarcation of their community lands.
An article in La Mula provides some background to these killings, and about those presumed responsible. The latter seem to involve powerful landed interests in the region keen to get their hands on forest land in order to grow cash-crops.
The Nuevo Perú bloc in Congress has issued a strongly-worded call for the government to take appropriate measures to delimit and protect community lands in this part of the country. It is presenting a bill in Congress that will expressly prohibit the felling of trees in the Amazon forest.