Endorsement of IPSM-Ottawa Call-Out

The Ottawa-Outaouais General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World hereby endorses the demands set forth by the Indigenous Peoples’ Solidarity Movement of Ottawa concerning the recent atrocities committed in Peru by the police and the military:

  1. Immediately suspend violent repression of indigenous protests and the State of Emergency
  2. Repeal the Free Trade Laws that allow oil, logging, and agricultural corporations easy entry into indigenous territories
  3. Respect indigenous peoples’ constitutionally guaranteed rights to self-determination, to their ancestral territories, and to prior consultation
  4. Enter into good faith process of dialogue with indigenous peoples to resolve this conflict

Indigenous led protests against new “Free Trade” agreements in Peru have been met with brutal violence by the Peruvian government. The Peruvian police and military murdered up to 100 protesters on June 5/6 2009, and are continuing to terrorize people under a declared ‘State of Emergency’ while blaming the protesters for the violence. The Peruvian government considers the profits made from exploiting logging, mining, oil and agroindustry more important than the lives of protesters and indigenous people.

If we are serious about safeguarding the human rights of the Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples of the Amazon, we need to act now. The violent repression of Indigenous protests and the loss of civil liberties must come to an end. If we want to protect and preserve the Amazon, and its bio-cultural diversity, especially in the face of climate change, there is no better protection than keeping it under the control of those who have maintained it forever. The free trade laws that open up the Amazon to logging, mining, oil and agroindustry must be suspended. Indigenous Peoples’ rights – to self-determination, to their lands and resources, to their lives – must be protected and guaranteed. If we are to stop other atrocities and bloodshed, the battle line must be withdrawn, immediately, and there must be dialogue.

It is essential to understand that this is not an “indigenous issue” or a “Peruvian” issue; this is a global issue; this is “our” issue in the north. Since the 1980s and 1990s, the governments of the USA and Canada — along with our “development” institutions (from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Inter-American Development Bank, to our “aid” agencies [US-AID, CIDA]) — have been pushing for and insisting on the “free trade” trade model of development / exploitation, on the signing of “free trade” agreements. Canada signed a “free trade” agreement with Peru on May 29 2008, and on June 3 2009, Bill C-24 was passed in the House of Commons to implement this agreement. The Peruvian government has also signed “free trade” agreements with the United States, the European Union, Chile, and China, all of which endanger indigenous territorial rights and Amazonian biodiversity.

For in-depth coverage and updates on what is happening in Peru, follow the links below: