Indigenous people have threatened to evict a US company, Hunt Oil, exploring for oil on their ancestral land in the Peruvian Amazon.
According to FENAMAD, an indigenous organisation in south-east Peru, at least two hundred people have gathered in a small town called Salvación, which acts as Hunt’s base in the region.
A meeting between company representatives, local indigenous people and high-ranking government ministers, including the prime minister, was scheduled to take place on Wednesday. Fifty policemen have been sent to Salvación – a move condemned by Peru’s national indigenous peoples’ organisation, AIDESEP.
FENAMAD says local people have not given Hunt consent to work on their land, and they are willing to put their ‘lives on the line’ to stop them from doing so. They said they would evict the company if it continued to violate their rights.
FENAMAD says that local people have also asked to speak directly to Hunt’s owners. Hunt is a private company whose CEO, Ray Hunt, is a long-standing associate of former US presidents George Bush and George W. Bush.
Hunt owns the rights to explore in the region, which includes land belonging to the Yine, Matsigenka and Harakmbut tribes, with Repsol-YPF. Last month, FENAMAD announced it was suing both companies.
At the heart of the region is the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, used by many indigenous villages for hunting and fishing and the source of six rivers that are the only fresh water supply for an estimated ten thousand people.