Development and Peace has been working in Peru since 1967 and its current program is aimed at countering the discrimination and social exclusion experienced by Peruvian society’s most vulnerable members, in particular the indigenous peoples of Amazonia.
“We wish that mining companies would consult us directly, and that the benefits go not only to the mining companies and the government, but also to the communities, which need it the most.” Arturo Castro, village leader of Cruz Pampa, near Huancayo in Peru.
The program supports advocacy activities calling for responsible mining, compensation for people negatively impacted by mining activities, proper relocation, access to medical care, and support to these front-line populations in their efforts to defend their rights.
Peru, the third largest country in Latin America after Brazil and Argentina, is crossed by the Andean mountains. Nearly half of Peru’s population is indigenous. The country’s economy is based mainly on the exploitation, processing and export of its natural, agricultural and marine resources, with these activities providing a living for the majority of the population.
Following the election of President Ollanta Humala in 2011, the country adopted a new law on the right to prior consultation, which stipulates that communities must be consulted before any extractive activity is introduced on the territory where they live. This particularly applies to mining, oil and gas projects conducted most often by international companies.
However, a recent easing of the rules, aimed at reassuring investors, has caused an outcry within the general population and the communities affected.