Peru’s congress is debating a new legislative proposal criticized by the opposition. Opponents see it as a step backward in recognizing the rights of Indigenous people. The new law could have serious effects on the protection of uncontacted and recently contacted Indigenous people in the country. And for us, This is My Earth; this is unacceptable: Indigenous people in Peru matter.
Several political groups seek to alter the Law for the Protection of Indigenous Peoples in Isolation and Initial Contact Situations. They want to repeal the creation of some Indigenous reserves. Many of them have been declared after years of debates. It is also worth mentioning that the current law prevents the entry of industries such as oil and logging companies.
One of the changes proposed in the bill is for the creation of Indigenous reserves to no longer be a matter the national government deals with — through the Ministry of Culture — and instead be a matter placed in the hands of regional governments.
In addition, they expect the status of every Indigenous reserve in Peru already approved until now to be immediately reevaluated. If the reform is approved, many reserves could see their status revoked.
Indigenous people in Peru matter
Indigenous people in Peru are a vital part of the country’s cultural and social fabric.
Peru is home to more than 50 Indigenous peoples. Each with its distinct language, culture, and traditions. These include the Quechua, Aymara, Shipibo, Ashaninka, and many others.
Indigenous peoples make up around 25% of Peru’s total population. However, they are often marginalized and face significant social, economic, and political challenges.
Indigenous peoples in Peru have struggled to secure land rights. They often face threats from the mining, logging, and agriculture industries. It has not only been until recent years that there have been efforts to strengthen land rights for Indigenous peoples, including by creating Indigenous reserves and other protected areas.
Despite their historical underrepresentation, there have been efforts to increase their representation in recent years, including the election of the country’s first Indigenous president, Martin Vizcarra, in 2018.
Peruvian Indigenous peoples possess a wealth of traditional knowledge related to agriculture, medicine, and natural resource management. This knowledge has contributed to the country’s rich biodiversity and is increasingly recognized and valued by government and non-governmental organizations.
Poverty, discrimination, and lack of access to basic services such as healthcare and education are some of their many challenges. As well as threats from climate change, deforestation, and other environmental issues.
This is My Earth and our conservation efforts in Peru
Peru is a crucial place for TiME. El Toro Forest was the first land we ever saved with our partner from the Neotropical Primate Conservation NGO.
We did it in 2016 and the land is now protected in the Tropical Andes Biodiversity Hotspot, one of Earth’s most biologically diverse regions.
To date, we have registered 234 bird species, 44 reptiles and amphibians, and 37 large mammal species, including an exceptionally dense population of the endemic and Critically Endangered Yellow-tailed Woolly Monkey (Lagothrix flavicauda) which, thanks to your donations to TiME, now are better protected.
The site lies between five nationally and privately protected areas. The terrain is rugged, with high ridges and deep valleys between 1,800 and 2,400 meters above sea level. The habitat is characterized by primary premontane and montane forests, dominated by Ficus spp.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the area is a priority. Protecting it will allow organisms to travel between areas and reduce forest fragmentation.
TiME works with local communities and NGOs and hands them all the land we purchase through your donations. We believe Indigenous peoples’ lives matter and their rights should be respected.