Hundreds of indigenous people deep in the Peruvian Amazon are blocking a major Amazon tributary following what they say is the government’s failure to address a social and environmental crisis stemming from oil operations. Kichwa men, women and children from numerous communities have been protesting along the River Tigre for almost a month, barring the river with cables and stopping oil company boats from passing. Oil companies have operated in the region for over 40 years, and have been linked by local people to pollution that has led the government to declare “environmental emergencies” in the Tigre and other river basins….
The oil concession where the protest is taking place, Lot 1-AB, is Peru’s most productive, but the contract, held by Pluspetrol, expires in August 2015. The government has committed to relicensing it and consulting the indigenous communities involved, but leaders say the contamination and other issues must be addressed first. “What we want is remediation, compensation, and to be consulted, according to international norms, about the relicensing,” says Fachin. “We won’t permit another 30 years of work otherwise.”…The Kichwas are now they are demanding 100 million Peruvian nuevo soles, from Pluspetrol, for “compensation after almost 45 years of contamination.”
“The state declared an environmental emergency, but hasn’t done anything,” says Guillermo Sandi Tuituy, from indigenous federation Feconat. “It must find a solution to this problem if it wants to relicense the concession.”...Pluspetrol took over Lot 1-AB from Occidental in 2000. It did not respond to requests for comment.
Peru’s indigenous people protest against relicensing of oil concession, Guardian, Feb, 2, 2012