Latin America is the world The deadliest area Serving environmental human rights defenders.total 222 Environmental Guard Since last year, they have lost their lives in global resource extraction and pollution conflicts: 98 of them are Peruvians, 86 people are indigenous defenders of the Amazon.
The Perene Valley is located in the dense jungle of the Peruvian Amazon. The indigenous Ashaninka people have long worked hard to protect their land from resource extraction. Drug smuggling and resource extraction, such as mining, logging, and land grabbing, continue to encroach on their territories without their consent.
Many Ashaninka defenders received death threats, the Peruvian government no respond Call for help. As criminals and companies took advantage of the country’s state of emergency, a series of murders against indigenous activists took place during the COVID-19 lockdown.These are located nearby Mining project For example, Pan American Silver, Southern Copper and Las Bambas.
In all these cases, the perpetrators are still at large.Even older cases, such as the murder of four in Asháninka in 2014 Upper Tamaya-Saveto The problems caused by illegal loggers have not yet been resolved.
timeline: Measure the murders in Peru in a year
The 55-year-old leader of Asaninka, Estela Casanto Mauricio (Estela Casanto Mauricio) spoke out against “Colonizer,” or outsiders occupying indigenous territories without permission.
For more than five years, Kronos has threatened, stalked and harassed Casanto because she refused to give up part of her land. However, she has never reported these threats due to fear of putting herself at greater risk.
On March 12, 2021, Casanto’s body was found in a cave at the bottom of a canyon near her home.Official autopsy said she died of asphyxiation Chew coca leaves. However, this contradicts the evidence that she suffered physical abuse and multiple injuries to the head, face and neck.
Teddy Sinacay, chairman of the Central Bush Native Community Center (CECONSEC), believes Skeptical of the investigationHe Say: “[I]It’s like they are making fun of us. We hope that the police and the prosecutor’s office will do a good job in the investigation, but we have a feeling that they have not done it well. “
Because organizations such as CECONSEC and the Regional Association of Indigenous Peoples of the Central Forest (ARPI-SC) quickly spread the news on many platforms, the suspected assassination quickly attracted the highest political attention in the country.
In response, Mirtha Vásquez, President of the Congress of the Republic, asked the Ministry of the Interior to provide meIntermediate protection for the community, Especially Kasanto’s family, they are still in danger.
CECONSEC also requires the Peruvian government to provide protection to guarantee the protection of land defenders, collective territories, and the environment and human rights.
They also have Ask the World Bank Improving the social environment and health protection of its loans, including requiring borrowing countries to give priority to Covid-19 response measures, because the Asháninka community is at serious risk.
These requests may come into effect with the implementation of the Escazu Agreement, which will take effect on April 22, 2021, to celebrate International Earth Day. This binding treaty can save the lives of many environmental defenders.
The regional agreement is based on the three pillars of the Aarhus Convention and aims to protect the fundamental rights of Latin America and the Caribbean to live in a healthy environment, such as access to information, public participation, corporate accountability and environmental justice.
Environmental democracy depends on protecting the right to be heard and know where you live, which is almost impossible for those on the front lines of mining and pollution conflicts.
In a context where government authorities often criminalize environmentalists, these at-risk defenders face legal obstacles in fighting for their rights. Stigmatize them As an anti-development terrorist.
The most important thing is that the Escazu Agreement is unique in that it clearly stipulates the government’s obligation to protect environmental defenders for the first time, provide them with a safe working platform, and investigate and punish violent acts against them.
The international treaty requires 11 countries to sign and ratify to enter into force. This process takes several years, because some governments such as Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Peru have not signed the agreement because they are worried that the agreement means giving up certain sovereignty over their natural resources.
This may open up internal affairs to the international arena and have a negative impact on economic development By threatening the right of private property, Hinder investment.
A few voices are lobbying for the approval of the Escazu Agreement to be put back on the agenda.
In an era where fair and sustainable post-pandemic recovery needs to be considered, these election debates after the death of the environment are a serious reminder that if society steps on the most vulnerable people in pursuit of profit, it cannot really move forward.
Dalena Tran is a PhD student at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (ICTA-UAB). She studies violence against female environmental defenders during the ecological distribution conflict.