The legislative council in Ucayali region has struck down a regional ordinance that had the effect of encouraging land invasions. In recent years Ucayali has been transformed by large-scale deforestation, land trafficking, palm oil plantations and the usurpation of indigenous territories.
Regional Ordinance No. 10-2018-GRU-CR had sought to promote and formalise land invasions in the forest areas zoned for sustainable production so that they could be employed for other uses. Among those affected has been the Santa Clara de Uchunya indigenous community, as we have reported on previously. Land trafficking in the region has led also to multiple assassinations in the region. According to the Forestry and Environmental Studies Institute, at least 100,000 hectares of forest were under threat.
In October 2018 the head of the National Forestry and Wildlife Service (SERFOR) threatened to appeal to the Constitutional Tribunal if the ordinance were not struck down since it exceeded the constitutionally defined limits to the powers of regional governments. More recently, the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders had urged that the ordinance be derogated.
With the decision to strike down the norm it is hoped that the indiscriminate granting of forest concessions and their conversion to other uses will be avoided and the expansion of agroindustry, illegal logging, and drug trafficking and accompanying violence detained.