Family resisting Glencore Xstrata project 'beaten by police'

08 November 2013

Local leaders and civil society organisations have condemned alleged police mistreatment of a family affected by the Las Bambas pipeline project, owned by Glencore Xstrata.

Members of the Taco Quehue family in Urinsaya, Espinar, reported that construction workers entered their property on 5 November, accompanied by dozens of riot police officers. Family members say they were forced to leave their smallholding and were beaten by officers. Human rights group Derechos Humanos sin Fronteras documented injuries to ten family members, including four children aged under six years.

Elard Valdez, a local youth leader, confirmed the family’s account and said they objected to a change in the route of the highway linked to the pipeline, because it would affect their farmland and water supply, and they had not been consulted. Access to the land had apparently been authorised by one local leader, but rejected by an opposing leader of the divided community.

Two members of the family were detained but later released. Some remain under investigation for resisting police authority. A public prosecutor ordered the suspension of construction activities pending investigations.

Meanwhile, a coalition of national indigenous organisations is demanding the immediate release of nine people who were detained on 11 November during protests against the Condestable mine in the Lima region. Two of the detainees were pregnant and one, Jane Cristina Rodríguez Inga, miscarried on the day of the arrests. The nine face charges including kidnap and extortion, which carry sentences of up to 8 years in prison.

However advocates say that the protests were peaceful. Community members accuse the Peruvian-owned mining company of failing to properly contain waste, undermining their farming through excessive water use, and failing to make annual payments of $18,000 to the community that were agreed in 2005.

 

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