Amazon church rejects legislative proposals reducing protection for forests and indigenous communities

Amazon church rejects legislative proposals reducing protection for forests and indigenous communities

Centro Amazónico de Antropología y Aplicación Práctica (CAAAP)/REPAM Perú

Indigenous pastoral agents, missionaries and bishops of the eight vicariates of the Peruvian jungle denounced in a formal pronouncement the serious setback in terms of environmental protection and recognition of the rights of Amazonian peoples that a series of legislative proposals entail. These legislative initiatives seek to reduce environmental protection standards for Indigenous Peoples in isolation or initial contact (PIACI) and that violate the rights of Amazonian peoples.

Photo from REPAM Perú

The document, Pronunciamento de los ochos vicariatos dela Amazonía peruana, was prepared and approved during the Meeting of Missionaries of the Peruvian Amazon: In light of the Amazon synod (Encuentro de misioneros de la Amazonía peruana: A la luz del sínodo amazónico) held early this year in Lima, Peru that gathered more than 90 participants from the ecclesial jurisdictions of the region.

These voices demand that participation of Indigenous Peoples and their representative organizations be guaranteed in the processes of creating policies and laws that directly or indirectly affect them.

In the pronouncement, the vicariates of the Amazon also pointed out that Bill 3912-2022, which seeks to modify the Forestry and Wildlife Law (Ley Forestal y de Fauna Silvestre), reduces environmental protection standards and suggests that regional governments have greater powers over forest ecosystems. “We urge Congress to carry out a prior consultation process, taking into account that the current Forestry and Wildlife Law and its regulations did have one at the time,” the document reads.

Likewise, the signatories supported the pronouncement issued by the bishops of the Amazon in January, rejecting the modification of the PIACI law through Bill No. 3518/2022-CR. “We reaffirm the need to recognize the existence of the PIACI in Peru and promote the comprehensive defense of their rights, since it is the obligation of States to implement measures that contribute to strengthening their comprehensive protection.”

Finally, the participants requested that actions to overcome the serious social context they currently suffer. “The State must promote social dialogue, respect amongst Peruvians, and manage preventive measures that avoid violence, to build a country where the common good and life take precedence over individual interests.”

“The defense of the land has no other purpose than the defense of life.”

This story was originally published in Spanish in CAAAP.

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