Statement of Ashaninka Communities from the Ene River Basin about the Hydroelectric Dam Project in Pakitzapango

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Ashaninka communities from the Ene River Basin from the Satipo Province, Junín Region, Peru, met in their XIV Ordinary Congress of the Central Ashaninka del Rio Ene, in the Pamakiari Native Community, annex of Cutivireni (Tambo River district), on May 7 and 8, 2010, to discuss the construction of the Pakitzapango Hydroelectric Plant, express the following.

Considering that:

Our history is full of constant abuses: we were slaved during the rubber period, stripped from our territories, and submitted to cruel atrocities during the social violence of the 1980s. The Truth Commission accounts for around 6,000 murdered and unaccounted for Ashaninka, likewise the 10,000 forcibly displaced Ashaninka from our territory; organized in Self-Defense Committees, we have sacrifized our blood and lives for the pacification of the country. We are currently repopulating our territory hoping to live calmly and in peace.

The Ene River is the soul of our territories: it feeds our forests, animals, plants, crops and above all, our sons.

For the Ashaninka People, the Pakitzapango (Eagles’ House) is sacred and an important part of our cultural and spiritual heritage, since our roots originated here. The Ashaninka from the Ene River participated in the creation of the Otishi National Park and Communal Ashaninka Reserve, and our communities are part of the buffer zone of the park, which contain some of the greatest biodiversity on the planet.

Despite all the above mentioned, the Government brings us new threats: the concession of our territory to companies for the construction of a hydroelectric plant in the sacred place of Pakitzapango, which would cause forced displacements and severe impacts on our territory, such as in the protected natural areas.

We see these abuses to our territory as acts of violence and direct attacks on our lives and our existence as a People.

Our Ashaninka indigenous people have their rights consecrated by the OIT 169 Convention and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as the American Convention. These treaties require States to take a previous free and informed consultation aimed to obtain the consent of indigenous peoples and communities potentially impacted by development of programs and investment projects that may be implemented in their territories. This was expressed to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights 138th period of sessions when CARE submitted a petition about the vulnerability state of the Ashaninka from the Ene River people.

Nevertheless, the Government continues to ignore and violate our rights, as seen in the Ministerial Resolution N°546-2008-MEM/DM, where the Mines and Energy Ministry gave temporary concession to the Company “Pakitzapango Energía SAC” to conduct a feasibility study for the construction of the Hydroelectric Dam in Pakitzapango. This concession was given without informing or consulting us, without establishing enough measures to protect our ancestral territories, putting ourselves in a vulnerable situation, showing, once more, the lack of respect from the Peruvian Government for our way of life and our rights.
Additionally, it is outrageous that the construction of a hydroelectric dam in Pakitzapango is being negotiated within the framework of the energy agreement between Peru and Brazil, given the lack of information on the socio-economic and environmental conditions of such construction. Furthermore, such agreement was being discussed even though there is not a National Energy Plan. The construction of the dams is being done in the interest of Brazil.

Taking in consideration what was mentioned above, the Ashaninka from the Ene River communities:

•    We ratified the statement of the Native Communities from the Ene River, signed in April 2009, which rejects the Resolution N°546-2008-MEM, as well as the construction of a hydroelectric dam in the sacred place of Pakitzapango, Satipo – Peru, because the Ashaninka from the Ene River were not informed or consulted about it.

•    We reject the use of the word Pakitzapango from the Ashaninka language as the name of this project, because it has a Spiritual and Cultural meaning for the Peruvian Ashaninka communities.

•    We demand from the Peruvian Government respect and unconditional compliance of our human rights consecrated in the 169 OIT Convention, the UN Declaration and the American Convention on the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights.

•    We demand the implementation of a Law in consultation and participation with the indigenous people on the Right of Free, Prior and Informed Consultation, in which it is assured that  the  minimum standards of the 169 OIT Convention and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples are taken into account.

•    We request a halt to the bill that changes article 8 of the Law about Internal Displacements in Peru, because it contradicts the goal of the right to be consulted, as expressed in international norms and jurisprudence.

•    We require that the Peruvian State develop an Energy Matrix for Peru guaranteeing energy self sufficiency for Peruvians. If that does not happen, we fully reject any possible energy agreement for selling electricity to Brazil, and whatever other hydroelectric project that impact our culture and our land.

•    We warn and question the Brazilian State that they are negotiating and compromising indigenous territory; we are the Ashaninka from the Ene River of Peru, and as such, we will defend our right to live in peace.

Pamakiari, May 8th, 2010