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News > Latin America

Indigenous Communities Resist Contamination in Peru's Amazon

  • Achuar indigenous leader Juan Pinola denounces the inaction of Talisman Energy in remedying contamination - July 10, 2015.

    Achuar indigenous leader Juan Pinola denounces the inaction of Talisman Energy in remedying contamination - July 10, 2015. | Photo: AIDESEP

Published 11 July 2015

"The company says it wants to reforest, but we say how are you going to reforest on contaminated land?" said an indigenous leader.

Indigenous leaders from the Peruvian Amazon have warned they are poised to kick start a resistance movement if a multinational oil company operating in their territories does not take action to repair the contamination suffered in Amazonian communities.

Leaders condemned the damage caused by Canadian oil and gas company Talisman Energy to the Lote 64 area in a remote and richly biodiverse part of Peru’s Amazon rainforest, home to the Achuar indigenous people.

RELATED: Peru: Links Found Between Illegal Mining and Foreign Companies

“They said that when they left they would not leave behind even one nail, but that is not how it is because the fish are dead and our children and elders suffer illnesses each day they spend with this situation of contamination,” said community leader Juan Pinola in a statement by the indigenous organization AIDESEP.

Achuar communities denounce the contamination they continue to find in their communities, left behind by Talisman Energy. Photo: AIDESEP

Indigenous leaders rejected being left with oil and heavy metals contamination while the multinational company took off with the profits and vowed to escalate resistance efforts if Talisman Energy fails to act on their demands.

According to a community leader, attempted talks with the company have had little impact, as there is no regard by the corporation for the “damages caused by improperly closed oil wells.”

Talisman Energy has refused to repair and rehabilitate the land and has said it will not compensate affected communities unless Peru’s public environmental evaluation body delivers the results of three environmental damage assessments.

RELATED: Canadian Embassy Backs Mining Company's Human Rights Abuses

It is estimated that about one thousands people have been affected by the contamination left behind by the company.

In September 2012 Talisman Energy withdrew from the Peruvian Amazon, where it had conducted oil and gas exploration since 2004, after coming under increasing fire for operating without indigenous consent, according to Amazon Watch.

The majority of indigenous Achuar people never agreed to the Canadian company operating in Lote 64 and fought against Talisman’s exploration and drilling on their traditional territories.

RELATED: 25,000 Mexican Fishermen Sue BP over Environmental Disaster

Talisman Energy was accused of complicity in genocide related to its operations in Sudan, where it operated from 1998 to 2003.

The Canadian mining and extractive industry has a dubious record of violence, human rights abuses, environmental damage, and other violations in communities where its companies conduct mining operations across Latin America and the world.

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