Indigenous Peoples in Latin America Unite Against MiningPublished by MAC on 2010-12-06
Source: Environmental News Service, statements
Last month's Forum on Mining, Climate Change and Well-being, held in the Peruvian capital, Lima, was attended by 376 Indigenous persons and partners from seventeen countries.
The participants issued a ringing Declaration, stating their intention to "establish a continental platform of struggle in the face of extractive policies".
A continent-wide Mobilization is planned for June 2011, aimed at gaining "full exercise of our rights in the face of mining impacts, the climate crisis and transnational corporations".
Indigenous Peoples in Latin America Unite Against Mining
Environmental News Service (ENS)
26 November 2010
LIMA, Peru - Indigenous Peoples from across Latin America have issued a unified declaration demanding an end to large-scale surface mining by transnational companies on indigenous peoples' lands. "We state emphatically: no to mining, yes to life," they declared.
|Poster for Lima Forum on mining, climate change and well-being|
The Lima Declaration calls for governments to revoke mining titles and concessions granted without proper consultation of Indigenous Peoples.
"This is a significant step forward in the process of building proposals from Indigenous Peoples and social movements against mining impacts, extraction by transnational companies, and the climate crisis," said indigenous leader Miguel Palacin Quispe, general coordinator of the Andean Coordinating Committee of Indigenous Organizations.
Indigenous representatives from the Andes, the Amazon, and Central America drafted the Lima Declaration at the three-day Forum on Mining, Climate Change and Well-being at the Museum of the Nation from November 18 through 20. It was attended by 376 indigenous and allied participants from 17 countries.
"Our territories full of life and harmony have been converted into territories of contamination and toxicity, territories of militarization and criminalization of struggles, territories of plunder and poverty because of pro-extractive policies guided by governments," the declaration states.
The declaration demands the approval of laws to determine zones prohibited for mining in indigenous territories, as the peoples of Costa Rica have achieved.
But in countries such as Peru, governments have criminalized and repressed protests against mining.
|Indigenous Peoples' representatives at the Lima Forum on Mining,
Climate Change and Well-being- Photo: EarthWorks, ENS
As the indigenous representatives issued the Lima Declaration, tensions intensified in Peru's southern province of Islay, where community members sought to block roads in protest of the Southern Copper Corporation's Tia Maria mine project, which they fear will impact water quality and agriculture.
About 10 protesters were injured by police using batons and tear gas at those protests earlier in the week.
But Thursday, talks between government officials and community members achieved a 10-day truce.
Work at Tia Maria has been suspended since April when, following earlier protests, the government set up a technical roundtable to discuss the project. But discussions have been boycotted by community leaders.
On Thursday, the Peruvian Ministry of Energy and Mines once again invited representatives of indigenous organizations to discuss the Draft Regulations for Consultation with Indigenous Peoples for the mining and energy activities, published October 25 in compliance with a Constitutional Court order.
This process seeks dialogue between the state and Indigenous Peoples, through their representative institutions, the ministry said in a statement, "with the aim of arriving at agreements on the scope of draft regulation in question, in order to build consensus among the sector Energy and Mines and indigenous peoples and improve their relationship for the sake of sustainable development projects, mining and energy investment in our country, respecting the rights of these peoples."
But today the Peruvian indigenous association AIDESEP, representing elders from 10 indigenous groups, objected that the consultation process "is not compatible with our right to cultural identity enshrined in Article 2, paragraph 19 of our Constitution." The elders say the process "is not harmonious with our distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional in the way of how agreements are made in our people, so that set only 10 days to agree or consent to the consultation process is inadequate and contrary to our cultural identity."
The Lima Declaration makes clear the extent of Indigenous Peoples' suffering as industrialization overtakes their formerly harmonious way of life.
"The exponentially growing Western consumption, the looting of our natural goods and the industrialization of the developed countries have generated a global climate crisis to which is joined a food crisis. The effects of global warming have increased the risks of vulnerability of our rights and are modifying our way of life that for millennia has depended on Mother Earth," the document states.
"Indigenous Peoples are those who contribute the least to global warming," the declaration states, "we are those who suffer its worst consequences and are excluded from the international negotiation processes and processes for defining national policies."
Palacin Quispe said this inequality shows itself in international negotiations, in which the rich countries, responsible for 75 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, impose their conditions on poor countries in the international climate change negotiations.
The Lima Declaration calls for establishment of a "continental platform of struggle in the face of extractive policies" and calls for another forum in the near future within the setting of the Fifth Summit of the Indigenous Peoples and Nations of the Abya Ayala, in Bolivia in 2011.
The signatory groups say they will carry out a Continental Mobilization on June 21, 2011 "in defense of life, for the reconstitution of Well-being (Buen Vivir), and for the full exercise of our rights in the face of mining impacts, the climate crisis and transnational corporations."
"We declare that Indigenous Peoples are the legitimate owners from ancestral times of the ground, subsoil and natural resources that our territories harbor. We demand of the institutions of the United Nations that natural goods be declared heritage of the Indigenous Peoples who harbor them," the Lima Declaration states. "We position ourselves to change the extractivist model in favor of the Well-being of the peoples of the world."
Indigenous Peoples in Latin America call for an end to destructive mining
EARTHWORKS Press Release
25 November 2010
Lima, Peru -- On Tuesday, Nov 23, Indigenous Peoples from across Latin America released the Lima Declaration , a unified position calling for an end to large-scale surface mining by transnational companies on Indigenous Peoples' lands. Indigenous representatives from the Andes, the Amazon, and Central America drafted the Declaration after a three-day Indigenous Peoples' Forum on Mining, Climate Change, and Well-being.
EARTHWORKS, a US-based organization that works to protect communities and the environment from destructive mining impacts, attended the meeting at the invitation of an Indigenous Peoples' coordinating group in Latin America.
In a clear indication of Indigenous Peoples' growing frustration with the mining sector, the Declaration states: "Our territories full of life and harmony have been converted into territories of contamination and toxicity, territories of militarization and criminalization of struggles, territories of plunder and poverty because of pro-extractive policies guided by governments." The Lima Declaration also calls for governments to revoke mining titles and concessions granted without proper consultation of Indigenous Peoples.
The Forum was attended by 376 Indigenous and allied participants from seventeen countries, and illustrated the impacts of large-scale mining on human rights, culture, livelihoods, and the environment in Latin America. In many countries such as Peru, governments have criminalized and repressed protests against mining. As the representatives launched the Lima Declaration, tensions continued in southern Peru, where community members sought to block roads in protest of the Southern Copper Company's Tia Maria mine project. Protesters were injured by police using batons and tear gas at those protests in Arequipa Department earlier in the week.
The Lima Declaration also presents an alternative model for achieving human well-being without incurring the destructive impacts of large-scale mining. The Forum attendees see Well-being, or Buen Vivir, as a way of life in harmony with Mother Earth in accordance with traditional Indigenous ways that contrasts with a way of life that promotes destructive mining and exacerbates climate change.
For More Information contact: Scott Cardiff,
EARTHWORKS, +511-980908140 (Peru);
* For full text of The Lima Declaration:
* For photos of the forum:
* For a statement about the forum by Miguel Palacín Quispe of the Andean Coordinating Committee of Indigenous Organizations (CAOI), see
Forum of Indigenous Peoples on Mining, Climate Change and Well‐being
Museum of the Nation, Lima
18th to the 20th of November of 2010
Indigenous Peoples, communities and social organizations of the Abya Yala, brothers of Africa and Europe, children of Mother Earth, meeting in the Forum on Mining, Climate Change and Well‐being, in the city of Lima, after three days of deliberations, declare:
Indigenous Peoples and communities are bearers of the ancestral wisdom that has kept the planet safe during thousands of years; our knowledge and ancestral practices of reciprocity and complementarity with Mother Earth have constituted the values that have allowed a life in harmony that we call today Well‐being ‐ to Live Well (Buen Vivir - Vivir Bien). From the time of our grandparents, in our territories biodiversity is conserved.
Our life in harmony was broken when Western men with ambition for wealth occupied our territories and initiated the looting of nature, leaving death, contamination and diseases. Today the ambition and the looting continue by new transnational conquerors with the blessing of the governments of our countries that, under the myth of economic growth, promote irrational policies of extraction of resources of our territories, leaving poverty and contamination.
Our territories full of life and harmony have been converted into territories of contamination and poisoning of human health, into territories of militarization and criminalization of struggles, into territories of looting and poverty as a consequence of the extractivist policies guided by the governments. On the other hand, they have also been converted into territories of resistance, of struggle, of proposals and exercise of our rights, as are the communitarian consultations undertaken by our ancestral authorities in diverse countries of the continent.
The looting of natural goods has intensified in our times by the neoliberal offensive through free trade agreements between states, the terms of which violate our indigenous and collective rights protected in international treaties, like the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Convention 169 of the International Labour Organisation.
The exponentially growing Western consumption, the looting of our natural goods and the industrialization of the developed countries have generated a global climate crisis to which is joined a food crisis. The effects of global warming have increased the risks of vulnerability of our rights and are modifying our way of life that for millennia has depended on Mother Earth.
Indigenous Peoples are those who contribute the least to global warming, we are those who suffer its worst consequences and are excluded from the international negotiation processes and processes for defining national policies.
The states come implementing a systematic policy of criminalization, within which new crimes have been created for the sole purpose of weakening our struggles. Consequently, thousands of indigenous leaders find themselves persecuted and prosecuted for defending Mother Earth and our rights.
Therefore, we resolve:
• To call for continental and world‐wide unity of Indigenous Peoples and social movements and to mobilize in defense of Mother Earth, through the construction of plurinational states and the implementation of Well‐being at the global level, as alternatives to overcome the climate, food and economic crises. To return to balance with Mother Earth to save life on the planet is our path.
• We demand of the states the recognition and total fulfillment of our rights recognized by the international system, especially the application of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Respect for self‐determination, for our territories and their sovereignty, for consultation and free, prior and informed consent of a binding character, for deciding our own way of life.
• To denounce the criminalization policies that the states are implementing against the defenders of Mother Earth, persecuting us, prosecuting us, jailing us and assassinating us. And we call for the establishment of alliances between Indigenous Peoples and social organization networks for the purpose of implementing collective actions at the international and national level to restrain these policies.
• We demand agrarian policies that guarantee the security and territorial sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples and farmers, and a rational and equitable distribution of water.
In relation to climate change:
• We demand the respect of the rights of Indigenous Peoples in the processes of international negotiation on climate change and the implementation of national policies by states; especially the right to the self‐determination and the right to the free, prior and informed consent.
• We demand the respect of the Rights of Mother Earth and all living beings.
• We demand that the countries historically responsible for climate change pay the climate debt. We commit to implementing the International Tribunal on Climate justice.
• We demand the construction of a national and regional climate justice agenda, with ample process of free, prior and informed consultation of peoples and communities.
• We demand that in the agreements for the adaptation and mitigation of the effects of climate change our knowledge and practices of reciprocity and complementarity with Mother Earth be taken into account.
• We reaffirm the Agreement of the Peoples of Cochabamba (April 2010).
• We demand that governments support the adoption in the United Nations of the Declaration of Rights of Mother Earth.
• We demand that states assume their responsibility and reach concrete and binding agreements with respect to the reduction of levels of greenhouse gases to slow the process of global warming. The adaptation of vulnerable communities will only be viable if the rich countries reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
• The ecological debt generated by the countries of the North with their greenhouse gas emissions must be paid and the funds provided for attending to people who are vulnerable and affected by the climate crisis in the South.
• We reject the false solutions of the carbon market, as well as all those that try to commodify the Pachamama (Mother Earth). We reject the commodification of the REDD mechanism through carbon markets. We reject the biofuels that change land use and threaten sovereignty and food security. We declare that LIFE IS NOT NEGOTIABLE.
• We demand that all projects or programs against deforestation respect the rights of communities to territory, autonomy, to consultation and free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples. It must ensure the participation and the benefits of populations of the areas that they have defended for millennia. That the governments change the policies that favor deforestation and support community forest management by Indigenous Peoples.
• We call for joining the Indigenous Forum of the Abya Yala on climate change.
• We commit ourselves to participating in the Global Climate Referendum agreed upon in the Global Conference of the Peoples on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth carried out in Cochabamba.
In relation to mining:
• We state emphatically: no to mining, yes to life. We reject transnational mining, no to mining in the territories of Indigenous Peoples. We demand immediate revocation of titles and concessions granted without consultation.
• We declare that Indigenous Peoples are the legitimate owners from ancestral times of the ground, subsoil and natural resources that our territories harbor. We demand of the institutions of the United Nations that natural goods be declared heritage of the Indigenous Peoples who harbor them.
• We position ourselves to change the extractivist model in favor of the Well‐being of the peoples of the world. In this sense our struggles must lead to the approval of laws to determine zones prohibited for mining in our territories, as the peoples of Costa Rica have achieved with their struggles.
• We demand of states the recognition and application of the right to consent that assists us as Indigenous Peoples in accordance with international law. We call on Indigenous Peoples and communities to not allow the development of mining projects without consent. In particular we make a call for the approval of the Law of Consultation in Peru and its immediate promulgation.
• To launch continental and global campaigns against the policies of international organizations (World Bank and others) that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, to the contamination and the ignorance of our rights, aggravating the climate crisis.
• To launch continental and global campaigns against mining companies, denouncing their violations of international law and their environmental, social and cultural impacts.
• To launch continental and global campaigns against the extractivist policies of states and to denounce before the international system of protection of human rights the cases of violations of human rights, indigenous and farmer rights by those policies, like forced displacement of whole communities.
• We commit ourselves to defend and strengthen our forms of communal organization and our own communitarian economy as an alternative to extractivism.
• To strengthen and coordinate the struggles of the communities and social movements in the face of mining, through exchanges and the construction of a continental platform.
We call for:
• Establishing a continental platform of struggle in the face of extractive policies and call for a forum in the near future within the setting of the Fifth Summit of the Indigenous Peoples and Nations of the Abya Ayala, in Bolivia in 2011.
• Carrying out a Continental Mobilization the 21st of June of 2011 in defense of life, for the reconstitution of Well‐being (Buen Vivir), and for the full exercise of our rights in the face of mining impacts, the climate crisis and transnational corporations.
Lima, November 20th, 2010
Coordinadora Andina de Organizaciones Andinas, CAOI / Coordinadora de las Organizaciones Indígenas de la Cuenca Amazónica, COICA / Consejo Indígena de Centro América, CICA / Alianza Social Continental / Confederación Nacional de Comunidades del Perú Afectadas por la Minería - CONACAMI Perú / Consejo Nacional de Ayllus y Markas del Qullasuyu, CONAMAQ / Confederación De Pueblos de la Nacionalidad Kichwa del Ecuador, ECUARUNARI / Organización Nacional Indígena de Colombia, ONIC / Organización de Pueblos y Naciones Indígenas en Argentina, ONPIA / Identidad Territorial Lafkenche / Foro Ciudadan de Participación por la Justicia y los Derechos Humanos, FOCO (Argentina) / FUNDAMAYA, Guatemala / Coordinadora de Organizaciones Maya Kaqchikel para el Desarrollo Equitativo y Sostenible, COMKADES (Guatemala) / World Learning - Study of International Training, Study Abroad - Programa Perú: Pueblos Indígenas y Globalización / Maderas del Pueblo del Sureste, AC, Chiapas (México) / Movimiento de Mujeres Indígenas Tz'ununija' (Guatemala) / Asamblea Buenos Aires no a la Mina (Argentina) / Confederación Indígena Neuquina de Argentina / Consejo Mapuche Zona Centro de Neuquén (Argentina) / Colectivo Coca Soberanía (Bolivia) / Puente entre Culturas -Cross Cultural Bridges / Salva la Selva / Coordinadora Nacional de Fondos Regionales y Organizaciones Indígenas y Campesinas, CONAFROIC (México) / Fronteras Comunes - Common Frontiers (Canadá) / Diálogo de los Pueblos / Colectivo Coordinación de Acciones Socio Ambientales, CASA / Instituto de Cultura Indígena (Jujuy, Argentina) / Televisora Indígena Indiocanal Omaguaca (Jujuy, Argentina) / Horizon Perú ONGD - Red Ambiental La Libertad / Red Mexicana de Afectados por la Minería, REMA / Consejo Regional Indígena del CAUCA, CRIC (Colombia)/ Movimiento Ciudadano frente al Cambio Climático, MOCCIC / CooperAcción / Asociación AKUAIPA WAIMAKAT ‐ Asociación para la Divulgación, Promoción y Defensa de los Derechos Humanos e Indígenas / Marcha Mundial de Mujeres / Servicios Jurídicos y Sociales - SERJUS / Comarca Ngäbe‐Bugle pueblo indígena de Panamá / Coordinadora de Organizaciones Maya Kaqchikel de Desarrollo Equitativo y Sostenible, Comkades / Consejo Regional Indígena del Cauca, CRIC / Instituto de Investigación, Desarrollo y Derechos Humanos DEVENIR / Movimiento para la Salud de los Pueblos / Programa de Estudios Antropológicos de El Colegio de San Luis / La tierra respira / Consejo de Amautas Indígenas del Tawantinsuyu / Organización Wiwa Yugumaiun Bunkuanarrua Tayro, Sierra Nevada De Santa Marta ‐ Colombia / Asociación Movimiento Indígena Tawantinsuyo MIT Perú / Cabildo Mayor - Asociación de Autoridades Tradicionales del Pueblo U'WA / Organización Wayuumunsurat‐Mujeres Tejiendo Paz / Gvbam Longko Pikun Wijimapu / Red Colombiana Frente a la Gran Minería Transnacional, RECLAME / Consejo de Aymaras, Kechuas Tupiguaranies para Ayllus y Comunidades, AKTUPAC / K'loj Qchman K'al B'e o Consejo Maya Mam de Quetzaltenango / Comité de Defensa de Tierras y Bosques de Villa Rica - Oxapampa / Corporación de Promoción y Estudios Americanos, CORPEA / Asociación de Mujeres Ngobe - ASMUNG / Municipalidad Indígena de Santo Tomas Chichicastenango / Comisión Justice et Paix Belgique francophone, CJP / Coordinadora Proyecto Extractivas y Pobreza America Latina / ALTER‐ECHOS / Comité en Defensa del Páramo el Almorzadero / Proceso de Comunidades Negras de Colombia. Concejo Comunitario La Toma - PCN / Cabildo de Cerro Tijeras / Organización de Pueblos Indígenas Yanesha Ashaninka Teno`mar - OPIYAT / Fundación Equilibrio / World Agroforestry Centre / Consejo Regional Indígena de Caldas - CRIDEC / Frente de Defensa de los Intereses y el Desarrollo de Huanuco / Organización Payipie Ichadie Totobiegosode - OPIT / Universidad Politecnica Javeriana ‐ Corporacion Cultural Oso Loma / Coordinadora de Organizaciones del Pueblo Kichua Saraguro - CORPUKIS / Concejo Municipal Cajamarca Tolima - Colombia / Organización 350 / Fondo Verde / Énfasis, revista de Reflexión y Debate / Grupo Impulsor contra el Racismo y otras formas de Discriminación. GIM PERU / Organización Internacional de Mujeres Indígenas del Tawantinsuyu / Sindicato Regional De Trabajadores Independientes De Occidente, SIRTCO / Red Latinoamericana sobre Deuda, Desarrollo y Derechos - LATINDADD / Forum Solidaridad Perú / Alcaldías Indígenas de la Región IXIL - FUNDAMAYA / Coordinadora Nacional de Viudas de Guatemala CONAVIGUA / EXPLORPERU. Informativo Digital / Club Cultural Cuzco de New York / Comunidad Campesina de Muni / Convergencia y Coordinadora Nacional Maya Waqib' Kej / Sindicato Único De Difusores Culturales del Sur (Perú) ‐ SUDIC‐SUR / Programa "Pueblos Indígenas y Globalización". School for International Training. World Learning‐ SIT / Cabildo Mayor Indígena del Resguardo de Urada Jiguamiando / Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz - CIJYP / Consejo Regional del Pueblo Nasa del Putumayo / Organización de la Alianza por un Comercio Responsable‐ ART / Movimento Sviluppo E Pace - Torino - Italia‐ MSP