Police prepare to arrest indigenous leader who was shot 8 times during protest upon his release from hospital
UN Special Rapporteur report calls for immediate review of legal charges against indigenous leaders
Francisco Soberón, Executive Director of Peruvian human rights organization APRODEH, called the criminal charges politically motivated. “We have no doubt that behind Santiago Manuin’s capture order there are pressures that don’t have to do with legal considerations but that follow the political logic of the criminalization of social protest in Peru.”
Five other indigenous leaders have been forced into exile and hiding after warrants were issued for their arrest on the charge of being “apologists for terrorism” and planning to overthrow the state for their appearance in a press conference in May. The government is pursuing over a dozen legal proceedings against regional and national leaders. Most of these leaders were not in Bagua on July 5th, however the government continues to hold them materially and intellectually responsible for the events that day. Police have raided indigenous organization offices and communities, as many leaders live in fear of imminent arrest. Investigations have focused exclusively on indigenous people and not the police violence that resulted in over 200 people being hospitalized after the government’s violent clampdown on the protests.
“There must be an impartial and independent investigation into the June 5th violence in order to create a climate of reconciliation and peace with indigenous people. The intimidation and politically motivated persecution of indigenous leaders must stop,” said Atossa Soltani, Executive Director of Amazon Watch. “The government cannot engage in meaningful dialogue with indigenous communities to resolve conflict if their elected leaders are in exile, hiding, or jail.”
UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, recently made public his final report on the Bagua assault. In his report, Anaya echoes the concerns of indigenous communities and civil society groups. The report highlights the immediate need for an impartial investigation, review of charges against indigenous leaders including Santiago Manuin and AIDESEP President Alberto Pizango, and creation of a framework law on indigenous community consultation.
James Anaya’s full report on the Bagua, Peru violence can be reads here: