Andean statement: To defend water is to defend lifePublished by MAC on 2012-03-27
Source: Statement (2012-03-15)
Recent statement by the Andean Coordination of Indigenous Organizations (CAOI).
To defend water is to defend life - Enough with extractivism and criminalization
For the construction and implementation of Good Living (el "Buen Vivir") and true multinational states.
We, the authorities and leaders of indigenous peoples and nations from Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru met in Lima on the 14th and 15th of March 2012 at the Seminar on Climate Change and Preparation for Rio +20, organized by the Andean Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations - CAOI.
1. That in the Andean Region, openly neoliberal and so-called progressive governments agree to insist on extractivist neoliberal capitalism, which plunders and pillages Mother Earth, violates the human and collective rights of indigenous people and criminalizes its leaders and authorities. False accusations of being funded by the Right wing and legal prosecution for serious crimes such as sabotage, kidnapping, terrorism and attempted murder are widespread:
- In Ecuador, indigenous peoples convened by CONAIE, ECUARUNARI and other civil society sectors held a March for Life, Water and Dignity of the Peoples. Since March 8th, International Women's Day, the march has moved across the country to arrive in Quito on March 22, World Water Day. Indigenous peoples and social movements are marching because the state is violating their Constitution, putting the resources in the hands of multinational enterprises, deepening the concentration of land, approving mega projects and ignoring the proposals of indigenous organizations to develop very important laws such as the Water Act. In addition, they stigmatize, criminalize, discriminate and prosecute indigenous organizations, accusing its leaders of serious crimes such as terrorism and sabotage.
- Bolivia approves a Consultation Law that violates the TIPNIS Protection Law. The Public Ministry mentions 26 people, including 20 leaders and indigenous leaders, accusing them of the worst crimes including attempted murder for participating in last year's march, and it does so precisely when it announces the beginning of the IX Indigenous March. In addition, laws that undermine national diversity and "Buen Vivir" enshrined in the Constitution are promoted, especially against the right of indigenous peoples to self-determination, diminishing the jurisdiction and the exercise of indigenous justice. The concentration of land in the hands of few displaces native peoples from their ancestral lands.
- In Colombia, regular and irregular forces continue to use indigenous territories as battlegrounds and impose extractive projects that require massive displacement and output, putting more than thirty indigenous groups in danger of physical and cultural extinction. Indigenous people, an example of organization, strength and maturity, are part of the Roundtable for National Dialogue with the government, but the agreements reached there are not complied with, due to lack of political will from the government which is expressed, among other ways, by the refusal to allocate funds to implement them.
- In Peru, the Government enacted a Consultation Law based on the interests of extractive mega projects, insisting on implementing mining projects on mountaintops and vulnerable areas, a move geared towards co-opting and dividing organizations. This criminalization continues, and there are currently about a thousand leaders and community organizers dealing with police harassment and criminal proceedings, the result of exercising their right to the protection of water and life.
2. The problems are common: natural resources in the entire region are affected, particularly water, territories and rights of indigenous peoples, violating the right to consultation and free, prior and informed consent recognized by international standards at the 169 ILO Convention, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, signed by the four Andean countries. Common causes include: submission to neoliberal extractivism, criminalization to benefit big businesses, and deepening the primary export model with the same pretext: not to scare away foreign investment.
3. Both the climate and civilizational crises are being addressed in ways that further deepens their root causes, appealing to the false solutions underlined by market mechanisms such as REDD and now the so-called "green economy", which merely encircles deep background problems with a green veneer.
As a result of the above expressed, we agree to:
- Express our support and solidarity to the March for Life, Water and Dignity of the Ecuadorian indigenous peoples, social movements and their organizations (CONAIE and ECUARUNARI). Defense of the TIPNIS by native Bolivian organizations (CONAMAQ and CIDOB), Campaign in defense of endangered Colombian indigenous people developed by ONIC, and the demand for a Genuine Consultation Act to ensure the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples in Peru organized under CONACAMI, AIDESEP, CNA and ONAMIAP.
- Demand an end to the criminalization and police and judicial persecution against leaders and authorities of indigenous peoples and their organizations in Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru, immediate trials and guarantees for the exercise of their rights, including the right to protest.
- Reaffirm the unity of indigenous peoples their nations and organizations, together with our decision to articulate and fight for our rights and the rights of Mother Earth. We reject moves by governments to co-opt and divide our organizations.
- Demand effective public policies that guarantee the inviolability of the mountaintops, our glaciers, vulnerable areas such as deserts and cloud forests, prohibiting all extractive activities or mega projects from affecting them. Also demand the recognition of management and traditional management of these areas by indigenous peoples and enact laws that safeguard their control over the management of these lands and resources, with the help of financial and technical resources of the state.
- Reject false solutions to climate change based on market mechanisms: no to REDD, no to green economy. And recognize that the answer is not technical but political, economic and cultural. This is the crisis of civilization led by the accumulation of resources and the only way out is to recover and build a different civilization based on dialogue and harmony with Mother Earth: to deepen "el Buen Vivir."
- Build and agree on proposals in defense of Mother Earth so that they are recognized by states, shared and enriched by social movements and taken to the international stage, such as the World Conference on Environment and Development Rio + 20, and conferences part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Lima, March 15, 2012.
Coordinadora Andina de Organizaciones Indígenas, CAOI
Confederación de Pueblos de la Nacionalidad Kichwa del Ecuador, ECUARUNARI
Consejo Nacional de Ayllus y Markas del Qullasuyu, CONAMAQ
Organización Nacional Indígena de Colombia, ONIC
Confederación Nacional de Comunidades del Perú Afectadas por la Minería, CONACAMI