IRI Peru secures Supreme Decree from government, issues high-level declaration to strengthen protections for indigenous peoples and environmental defenders

In mid-May, IRI Peru called for an urgent dialogue with indigenous leaders, religious leaders and national authorities to address the grave threats facing indigenous peoples in the country.  In response, the Minister of Justice, Eduardo Vega, presented the Supreme Decree N° 004- 2021-JUS, “Intersectoral Mechanism for the protection of human rights defenders”. This first of its kind Supreme Decree commits to work across eight different ministries to strengthen protections for indigenous peoples and environmental defenders. IRI Peru then called for and accompanied a meeting attended by the Ministers of the Interior, Environment and Culture, as well as the presidents of indigenous organizations including AIDESEP, FENACOCA, FECONAU and ORAU. The meeting produced a commitment to initiate an emergency roundtable discussion on environmental defenders in the city of Pucallpa, Ucayali, which was held on May 14th with the presence of 12 government officials (including the Minister of Justice, Minister of Interior, Minister of Environment and Minister of Women and Vulnerable Populations), 12 indigenous leaders, presidents of indigenous organizations and IRI Ucayali representatives. The Bishop of Pucallpa, Monsignor Martin Quijano, presented the Minister of Justice with an IRI Peru statement titled, “Declaration for Amazonian Indigenous Security”which calls for six security measures to be adopted by the Peruvian government: (i) increase protection measures for environmental defenders and indigenous peoples and provide resources for the Intersectoral Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders to be implemented; double efforts to secure the rights and territories of indigenous peoples by guaranteeing land tenure; (iii) increase measures to halt illegal logging and deforestation; (iv)obtain informed consent for projects (especially infrastructure plans) directly affecting the lives of indigenous peoples; (v) increase efforts to combat organized crime, drug trafficking and illegal mining in indigenous territories; and (vi)create a permanent working group made up of indigenous organizations, faith communities, civil society and authorities to monitor the security of indigenous peoples and forests. A link to the declaration can be found here