The Importance of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent for the Defense of Indigenous Territories.

"Conflicts in the territory begin when prior consultation is not applied" declared Miguel Guimarães Vásquez, vice president of AIDESEP, an Amazonian indigenous organization in Peru, who participated in the ISEAL-led FPIC 360 webinar with Equitable Origin´s participation.

The webinar was called "Monitoring of Prior, Free and Informed Consultation (FPIC) 360", it brought together leading specialists on the subject and made the FPIC 360 digital tool available to Indigenous Organizations, one of the most effective mechanisms to monitor and alert in cases in which the right to Prior Consultation is not respected.

"The FPIC 360 tool is a platform for monitoring and controlling the application of the Right to Free, Prior and Informed Consultation, in projects or activities that involve them or may affect them directly or indirectly," said Soledad Mills, director of Equitable Origin, referring to the native Amazonian communities.

On the other hand, Guimarães pointed out that AIDESEP has identified the Peruvian departments of Ucayali, Pasco, Junín, Madre de Dios, Loreto and San Martín as the places in which, in addition to problems associated with the non-application of a Free Prior and Informed Consultation, the life of indigenous Amazonian communities is threatened by drug trafficking and illegal logging. The defense of their human rights has become a matter of life or death.

An environmental defender, Miguel Guimarães is native to the Flor de Ucayali community of the Shipibo people in the region of the same name. He has experienced persecution by drug mafias and loggers who harass him at every turn, putting his life and that of his family at risk.

Despite the danger it represents, Guimarães decided to participate in this virtual event to make people aware of the terrible situation which several environmental defenders are going through; “In addition to drug trafficking and illegal logging, there is the invasion of territories and with it the dispossession of entire communities, agrobusiness with the oil palm industry and the famous oil development that has been present in Peru for more than 50 years devoid of any real benefits for endemic communities. In other words, there is an enormous debt and responsibility on the part of the government towards Indigenous Communities,” he said. Guimarães also pointed out some of the problems and challenges that are currently being experienced in his territory, such as the resistance of 15 communities to the implementation of Lot 200 in Ucayali. 

The vice president of AIDESEP ended his presentation by indicating that " Indigenous Leaders and defenders of the environment, we often see ourselves at total risk by making public statements on the problems that we experience day by day in the territory."

Data: Equitable Origin, in alliance with international organizations such as the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), promotes spaces for articulation and information on the right to consultation that indigenous peoples have.