In 1993, the Peruvian government ratified the International Labor Organizations Convention (ILO) 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries. Part II, article 15 of ILO 169 affirms the special rights of indigenous peoples to their lands, and the right to be consulted about and receive benefits from the administration and extraction of natural resources on those lands, including subsoil resources in cases (like that of Peru) where subsoil resources are defined as belonging to the nation-state. In the cases where such projects cause damages, the convention calls for just compensation. Although the Convention as ratified, as well as other elements of Peruvian legislation including the Constitution of 1993, article 55, and the Law of Native Communities of 1974 and 1978, guarantees the rights of indigenous peoples to prior consultation about resource extraction on their lands, in practice, the Peruvian government has interpreted and implemented the legislation primarily in view of the interests of the state and the commercial parties, over and above the interests of indigenous communities. This attitude was made especially clear in the notorious Bagua riots of 2009, when Peruvian president Alan Garcia?s questioning of indigenous peoples right to consultation about extraction projects on their lands led to massive and violent protests in northern Peru (Shepard 2009).
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Categories: Human Rights Defenders, Peru