LIMA, Oct 27 (Reuters) – Tribes in Peru say they want U.S. energy company Hunt Oil to abandon an exploration project in a virgin corner of the Amazon rainforest, and they have filed legal challenges against the government and the company to force it out.
Representatives of the tribes said on Tuesday they would sit down for talks with officials representing Hunt. Earlier this week, the tribes threatened to forcibly remove oil workers from a camp near the town of Salvacion in the Madre de Dios region of southern Peru.
“There is going to be a dialogue. We have to wait for the result of this meeting before we know about the removal,” said Maria Gonzalez of the Fenamad indigenous rights group.
The tribes say a government concession to Hunt and Spain’s Repsol (REP.MC) to look for oil in Block 76 is unlawful because it overlaps the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, protected ancestral lands that could hold billions of dollars of oil deposits.
As the complaints wind their through the courts, the government of President Alan Garcia contends that the tribes control only surface rights of the reserve, while the government can lease subsoil mineral rights to foreign companies.
Tribes, frustrated by the slow pace of court cases and the government’s stance, say Peru’s position ignores their rights to autonomy and self-determination under the U.N. charter on indigenous peoples.
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Hunt Oil in the Peruvian Amazon: Reuters picks up the story
We’ve mentioned it on this humble corner of cyberspace several times in the last week, inlcluding this post to kick it all off and this post about eyewitness Sam Mitchell’s unbeatable and detailed observations. Abiding has been on the case, too. Now the real newspeople are on the story and getting the word heard further and wider. Here’s the start of the Reuters report on Hunt Oil and Repsol, click through for the rest: