Press Release

IACHR Grants Protection Measures in Favor of Yanesha and Asháninka Families during the Process of Official Recognition of their Community and Granting Them Land Titles in Peru

November 6, 2019

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Washington, D.C. - On November 6, 2019, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) adopted Resolution 57/2019, in which it granted precautionary measures in favor of the Yanesha and Asháninka families from the Nueva Austria del Sira Community in Puerto Inca district and province, Huánuco department. The application alleged that these families were at risk due to the presence of third parties who had allegedly “invaded” the area and threatened and assaulted them at a time when their community is in the process of being officially recognized and receiving title deeds to its land.

In reaching its decision, the IACHR took into account the vulnerability of the situation in which these indigenous families find themselves given the lack of legal certainty around their lands and the conflicts with third parties that may arise. In this case, the IACHR weighed up the seriousness of the allegations, which included the attempted murder of the president of the community, the kidnapping of the vice president of the community, and acts of aggression by third parties who have “invaded” the area during the process of the community being officially recognized before the competent regional government and being granted title deeds to its land.

After requesting information from the state in accordance with article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the IACHR observed that although the state argued that certain members of the community had been granted personal guarantees, the lack of available information made it impossible for the IACHR to evaluate how suitable or effective these are vis-à-vis the alleged risk. Likewise, despite the fact that various strategies to coordinate between state departments have been implemented, the IACHR deemed that the sources of risk have not yet been fully mitigated or neutralized, as according to the contents of the application, it appears reasonable to assume that the families in question remain seriously at risk.

Consequently, based on article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the IACHR requested that Peru: a) adopt the necessary measures to protect the right to life and personal integrity of the families of the Nueva Austria del Sira Community and prevent acts of violence against them by third parties; b) adopt culturally appropriate protection measures to protect the life and personal integrity of families from this community; c) agree on the measures to be adopted with the beneficiaries and their representatives; and d) report on the actions it takes to investigate the events that led to the adoption of this precautionary measure and thus prevent these from being repeated.

The fact that this precautionary measure has been granted and its adoption by the state does not entail a prejudgment on any petition that may eventually be filed before the inter-American system to allege that the rights protected by the American Convention and other applicable instruments have been violated.

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 to defend 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. 286/19