MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Conflict in northern Peru Press Release

Published by MAC on 2005-08-07

Conflict in northern Peru Press Release

MUQUI NETWORK (Red Muqui) - NATIONAL COORDINATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

7 August 05

FOR A TRUE SOLUTION TO THE CONFLICT OF HUANCABAMBA

In the face of grave events which are still sharpening between the campesino population, mining company Majaz and police forces in the region of Huancabamba in Piura, Peru, the MUQUI NETWORK (Red Muqui) and the NATIONAL COORDINATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS address the public to declare the following:

We mourn the death of citizen Amado Velasco, the numerous injuries and the detention of 32 persons, among them Mario Tabra Guerrero and Elizabeth Cunya, president and vicepresident of the Defense Front for Environment and Life of Ayabaca, and Julio Vásquez, correspondent for Radio Cutivalú. There are worries that the injured still have not received medical attention and that over 24 hours have passed since the arrests of the citizens and the Ministery of the Interior still has not provided any clear information about their whereabouts, thus impeding their access to legal defense.

We state that the dialogue commission formed July 27 did not achieve its goal, because the state did not provide minimum conditions to enable a direct communication between the campesinos and reestablish peace and trust in the zone. We decry the state's prioritizing the use of force before sincere and respectful dialogue between the parties, as had been promised at the beginning. We insist on reminding all that the first obligation of the Peruvian state is to guarantee the exercise of fundamental rights of our population.

We salute the efforts of Monseñor Daniel Turley, Bishop of Chulucanas, who continues in his search to achieve a peaceful meeting between the parties, and we reject the unjust attacks that he has suffered on the part of some media channels.

It must be taken into account that the mining project Majas is located in the high Andean peaks of Ayavaca and Huancabanba, birthplace of the rivers Quiroz which supplies the Chira valley in Piura, and the river Blanco which leads to the rivers Canchis and Chinchipe, flowing into the Marañon and Amazon. To try and carry out mining activities in this zone without a social license on the part of the inhabitants there implies that the conflict will continue.

We consider it necessary to make a political decision to establish a real space of dialogue with the active participation of the legitimate representatives of the communities, social organizations, local governments, regional government, central government, the mining company and other local economic actors for a legitimate pact about the priorities for local and regional development, which takes into account the demands of the population and its respective points of view.

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