Barkut Tuncak, the UN special rapporteur on toxic waste, and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the rapporteur on indigenous peoples, issued a joint press release on 13 July, requesting the Peruvian government to refrain from further negotiations with potential bidders for the contract to exploit Block 192 in the Amazon jungle.

This is a huge area in the Loreto region. Oil extraction affects the livelihoods of indigenous communities living along the Pastaza, Corrientes, Tigre and Marañon rivers. They have been affected by the environmental effects of oil extraction for 40 years. They fear new environmental threats if and when a new contract is agreed.

The rapporteurs maintained that the efforts to provide reparations to offset the impact of oil spill had been “manifestly inadequate”, declaring also that current negotiations failed to recognize the right of people to free, prior and informed consent. Until these problems are resolved, they argued, negotiation of a new contract should be suspended.

Petroperu is responsible for negotiations alongside Perupetro, another public company. Communities are demanding that a new contract requires a new consultation and that the government needs to take the issue of environmental remediation seriously.

The UN press-release concluded that “the government has the obligation to respect, protect and comply with the right of indigenous people in the region, as well as to hold responsible companies that commit human right violations, before they grant a new licence for the exploitation of their land”.