Peru Approves New Law on Prior Consultation

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On August 23, the Peruvian Congress approved a new law that guarantees Indigenous peoples’ right to prior consultation around legislative and administrative measures as well as plans, programs, and projects that impact them and their rights (“Ley de derecho a la consulta previa a los pueblos indígenas u originarios reconocido en el Convenio No. 169 de la Organización Internacional del Trabajo”). President Ollanta Humala signed the new law, which is the first to be approved by the current Parliament and was passed with no votes against and no abstentions, on 6 September in the province of Bagua. The Law on Prior Consultation is intended to comply with certain commitments set out in the 1989 International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 169 and the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

Amazon Watch reports that AIDESEP, a Peruvian Indigenous Amazonian federation, expressed support for the new law, but also concern about implementation, stating that “until [the government agency] INDEPA, the National Organization for the Development of Andean, Amazonian and Afro Peruvian Peoples truly implements this new law, we will not be caught in false triumphs.” James Anaya, the United Nations special rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous peoples, congratulated the Congress and also called for adequate implementation. According to a press release, Anaya said, “I hope that this is indicative of a strong commitment by the Peruvian State to respond to the demands of indigenous peoples to be consulted about measures that directly affect them, and in particular about extractive industry projects in and around their territories.” This UK Guardian article explores the broader context within which the law was passed, particularly conflict arising over large-scale development and extraction projects in Indigenous territories.

7 September 2011

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