Peruvian tribe shares common ground on petroleum issues with Canadian First Nations
Three Achuar leaders recently visited Canada to meet First Nations communities affected by oil operations among the oil sands of northern Canada. On may 1st they also addressed the annual meeting of Talisman Energy, the company that is exploring for petroleum within their territory.
From the Pastaza River in northern Peru, close to where Talisman has been exploring for oil for over seven years, the issue has become a controversial subject, even dividing some Achuar communities. The people living closest to the exploration site generally being those more likely to support it. An incident last year has led to a case being filed in the Peruvian court claiming that the company’s actions sparked confrontation between people of the same ethnic group. Talisman denies the charge.
“They know our position, but they are insisting,” Peas Peas Ayui, president of the Federation of Achuar Nationalities of Peru (Federación de Nacionalidades Achuar del Perú, or FENAP), said of Talisman. “We want to make them understand; we want them to respect us. The Achuar people are tired of demanding our collective rights.”
“We want them to leave us our freedom. We want to live in peace,” he said. “There isn’t room to continue working, because the Achuar population is growing.”
“The purpose of the visit is to try and lift the Achuar voice and get Talisman to listen and respect their point of view,” said Gregor MacLennan, Peru program director for the non-profit indigenous advocacy organization Amazon Watch.
Talisman spokeswoman Phoebe Buckland said the Achuar representatives would have an opportunity to speak at the meeting and meet company executives.
Talisman is currently exploring in an area labeled Block 64 to determine the extent of a n oil deposit there. The company is preparing an environmental impact statement and expects to make a decision by January 2013 about whether to go ahead with development and production.
Source: Indian Country and Amazon Watch