Press Release

IACHR Announces Visit to Peruvian Amazon Region

July 7, 2017

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Lima, Peru — On July 8-9, 2017, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) will carry out a visit to the Chiriaco, Cuninico, and Morona areas of the Peruvian Amazon region, to gather information on the human rights situation of communities affected by oil spills from the Norperuano pipeline.

The IACHR delegation will include Commissioner Paulo Vannuchi, Rapporteur for Peru, and staff from the Executive Secretariat of the Commission. The delegation will visit the communities in the company of staff from Peru’s Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, the Ministry of Justice office that handles supranational cases (Procuraduría Supranacional), the Environmental Assessment and Oversight Agency, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Housing, the Ministry of Energy and Mines, and the Ministry of Health, as well as representatives of Petroperú. The IACHR thanks the State of Peru for consenting to this visit and for the cooperation it has provided in planning the program of activities.

The Commission received an invitation to conduct this visit during the hearing entitled Impacts on Human Rights of Oil Spills in Peru, held in June 2016 during the Commission’s 158th session, which took place in Santiago, Chile. During the hearing, leaders of the affected communities reported that there had been 40 oil spills in the last 20 years—half of them in the last four years—and that this had poisoned the waters and forests, leaving the communities without water and food. At that hearing, the President of the Cuninico Community and the President of the Wampis Nation informed the Commission that members of their communities were suffering from multiple illnesses and that they lacked medical care.

During the visit, the Commission will visit environmental cleanup areas along the pipeline, accompanied by technical personnel from Petroperú, and will hold meetings with representatives of the affected communities and with representatives of the Peruvian State. The delegation is scheduled to be in Cuninico on July 8 and in Puerto Alegría and Chiriaco on July 9. The ability to complete the full itinerary will depend on weather conditions.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and defense of human rights in the region, and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 091/17