Indigenous Peoples Sue Peruvian Government over Re-opening Logging in Amazon Forest Reserves

The Regional Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the East (ORPIO) in the Peruvian State of Loreto has filed a lawsuit stating that the regional government would violate Peru´s constitution by restarting logging in the midst of the pandemic in forests that are home to indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation, the organization said.

The law suit is being supported by the Institute of Legal Defense (IDL), Forest Peoples Program (FPP) and the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).

The complaint seeks to block a re-opening plan put forward by two regional government agencies in Loreto in the Amazon region. The plan, which follows a recent decree to resume extractive activity in the country, would reactivate logging in concessions that overlap with forest areas in the process of being designated as indigenous reserves under national law.

According to the plaintiffs, the re-opening plan poses a certain and imminent threat to the lives of the affected Indigenous Peoples. The complaint states that logging would bring the risk of COVID-19 infections to isolated indigenous communities thought to be particularly vulnerable to disease and with no access to medical care. It also argues that logging would threaten the livelihoods of these communities by degrading the forest ecosystems they depend on and fuel conflict with logging brigades and other workers.

ORPIO is asking the judge to order the regional government not to grant or reactivate forest concessions that overlap with the requested indigenous reserves in favor of isolated peoples. By extension, the group requests not to grant, reactivate or create any forest concessions or forest extraction units in areas which are in the process of being established as indigenous reserves for peoples in isolation.