IACHR hears representations on contentious PIACI law

17 May 2019

The encroachment by extractive industries into the territories of indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation (PIACI) in Peru, has brought the KNNRT case to the attention of the Inter-Commission on Human Rights which will include the topic for the first time in its Amazon-wide report.

The Commission last week heard representations from the NGO Derecho Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (DAR) against a contentious article (5c) of the Peruvian PIACI Law which allows externally generated economic activities within indigenous territories on grounds of public and national interest despite evidence of contravention of the rights to life and health discussed above in relation to mercury poisoning in the KNNRT reserve.

DAR also pointed out that an earlier decree by which the territorial reserve was originally set up committed the state to guarantee and protect the reserve’s integrity and intangibility as long as the inhabitants chose to live in isolation.

The Ministries of Culture, Environment and Health represented Peru at the hearing alongside experts in international law. On behalf of the Peruvian Amazon’s indigenous peoples, the Asociación Interétnica de la Selva Peruana (AIDESEP) appealed to the state to respect the integrity and self-determination of the peoples in the KNNRT reserve. It also urged the state to take account of the infringement of the rights of peoples in voluntary isolation brought about by article 5c of the PIACI Law.

In April AIDESEP convened a panel of academics and indigenous leaders in Lima to launch its PIACI Report for 2018 and debate challenges in the inter-American system of human rights for the protection of peoples in isolation and initial contact, focusing on the Mashco Piro, Yora and Amahuaca. 

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