Sunday, October 2, 2022

Peru: Environmentalists demand protection and less judicial harassment

LIMA ( Associated Press) – Dozens of environmentalists traveling from different parts of Peru staged a protest in Lima on Friday to follow safety mechanisms for threats and not be judicially harassed.

Workers came from rural areas on the coast, from the Amazon or areas near mines. Many wore distinctive costumes and performed in front of the Ministries of Justice and the Interior. They had signs for phrases such as “justice for environmental defenders” or “protecting land, water and life”.

“We call for the protection of environmental defenders and the approval of standardized norms in the justice system so that defenders are not criminalized for any crime,” Jaime Borda, secretary of the Red Mookie environmental organization, told the Associated Press.

Since 2020, Peru has implemented a protection mechanism for environmental defenders that includes several authorities, but in practice this is rarely accomplished due to a lack of funding and coordination. According to activists and experts, many workers live in remote areas where the state’s presence is very weak and in many cases non-existent.

The Peruvian organization National Coordinator of Human Rights reported that some 17 Peruvian environmentalists were murdered in the past five years, especially in the Amazon. Most had been threatened earlier and had received no support from the authorities.

Borda indicated that there is no exact count of environmentalists who have been investigated or prosecuted by prosecutors to protect the rights of communities, but he calculated that they could reach 500 over the past decade.

“Now for anything, defenders are criminalized,” he said. He said the tests and tests are so extensive that some go on for more than a decade.

According to the Office of the Ombudsman, the South American country has accumulated 205 conflicts across its territory, 63% of which are of socio-environmental origin.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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