At least 57 environmental activists have been killed in the last 12 years, the vast majority by police and military services
Earlier this year, four indigenous leaders from Alto Tamaya-Saweto -a neighbouring tribe of Cool Earth’s Asháninka partners – were tragically murdered.
Unfortunately, these killings are not a rarity in Peru, where illegal logging and mining constantly threaten the lives of rainforest communities. Often, these communities receive no help or support from the government to help defend themselves. A new report by Global Witness has found that the military, the police and private security guards are responsible for 83 percent of these killings.
Despite this recent spate of killings the government of Peru has not taken any measures to increase the protection of indigenous communities. A new law passed by the government aims to increase investment in mining and fossil fuels by vastly reducing environmental protection. The law will also allow fossil fuel exploitation in protected areas. This will undoubtedly lead to vast increases in deforestation and bring indigenous communities into closer contact with the threat of destruction.
One of the best ways of halting deforestation is to realize indigenous land rights. Only 38% of Peruvian indigenous groups have legal claims to their land, and 22 million hectares of indigenous lands are waiting to be processed by the authorities.
In the face of growing uncertainty over the government’s commitment to rainforest protection, Cool Earth is increasing its focus in the Ene Valley of Peru to ensure our local partners have an ally in the protection of their forest and their homes.