- This Tuesday, United Nations Comission will analyze allegations of human rights violations in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil and Venezuela.
- Review panel will take into account official information sent by the affected indigenous peoples.
Friday November 2nd, 2018.- Over the last decade, investments of companies with Chinese capital and with participation of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have grown significantly in Latin America. Unfortunately, several of these investments have led to violations of the rights of indigenous peoples in five countries of the Amazon Basin: Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil and Venezuela.
The cases of affectation to indigenous populations have been compiled in a report developed by the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), an organization that represents the national organizations of the nine Amazonian countries. The report indicates that these investments have violated rights to life, territory, prior consultation and healthy environment, among others, and was carried out with the technical support of the Regional Coalition for Transparency and Participation (constituted by DAR, AAS, CEDLA and Conectas Direitos Humanos1).
Gregorio Mirabal, COICA general coordinator, emphasized that “Chinese companies do not want to enter into dialogue with anyone, neither with organizations, nor with advocates, nor with environmental organizations (…) We have to unite to defend life, because it is our life, if they destroy nature, the Amazon basin, they are destroying our home. ”
PERU: The case of Lot 58
Located in the jungle of Cusco, Lot 58 is a project with great potential for gas extraction and processing. Although this concession is operated by PETROBRAS ARGENTINA S.A., 100% of its capital belongs to CNPC PERU S.A., of Chinese origin, local subsidiary of the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).
In this case, the company has begun processing seismic lines and drilling four exploratory wells without a prior consultation process with the indigenous communities living in the area: Tangoshiari, Kirigueti, Kochiri, Camisea, Puerto Huallana, Mayapo, Ticumpinia, Camaná, Timpia, Chirumbia, Cashiriari, Segakiato, Shivankoreni and Poyentimari; in addition to overlapping with the Machiguenga Communal Reserve natural protected area.
COLOMBIA: El Nogal Oil Block
The largest oil block in the Colombian Amazon, with an area of 239,415 hectares, is a project of Emerald Energy, a subsidiary of Sinochem, a company under the supervision of the State Council of China. The project has serious environmental gaps, such as disregarding wetlands and ground and surface water, as well as ignoring the existence of two communities and three indigenous reserves before the Directorate of Prior Consultation, among others.
ECUADOR: Condor Mirador Project
This case concerns the actions of the Chinese state-owned companies Tongling Non-Ferrous Metals and China Railways Construction Corporation and its subsidiary ECSA, which are carrying out large-scale mining operations for the extraction of copper in the Condor Cordillera, declared as a “protective forest and vegetation area”, in addition to overlapping with the ancestral territory of the Shuar indigenous nationality.
The execution of this mining project has led to forced evictions, where according to COICA’s report “the company ECSA, with the participation of the State and Ecuadorian public forces (National Police and Military) illegitimately destroyed the church and the school of the community of San Marcos, Tundayme parish, El Pangui canton, Morona Santiago province “. To date there have been other cases of forced evictions.
The most serious incident in this area occurred with the murder of three indigenous leaders who opposed the advance of mining works: José Tendetza, found dead on December 3, 2014; Bosco Wisum (2009) and Fredy Taish (2013) were also killed.
In the same way, the cases of Brazil and Venezuela constitute cases of human rights violations due to actions affecting the lives of indigenous communities in different ways. In the Colombian case, complaints were made regarding the El Nogal oil block (BPN); in the Brazilian case regarding the Teles Pires and São Manoel Dam project on the Teles Pires river; and in Venezuela, regarding the Case of the Orinoco Mining Arc (AMO Project).
Why will the United Nations evaluate the actions of China in Latin America?
The PRC, as a Member State of the United Nations (UN), is obliged to respect the principles set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
At each session, the intergovernmental mechanism of the Human Rights Council conducts a Universal Periodic Review (UPR), in which 14 Member States of the United Nations are evaluated regarding their compliance with human rights obligations. This year, the PRC is among the countries to be evaluated, the central session of which will be this upcoming November 6.
Due to the commitments signed by the Chinese State, it must be held responsible for the rights violations caused within and outside its territory. In this regard, Diego Saavedra, of the Peruvian Civil Association DAR, a member organization of the Regional Coalition for Transparency and Participation, said: “China should take charge of the damages caused by its investments in Latin America. As a member of the United Nations it is bound by International Treaties to comply with the Principle of Extraterritoriality and to respect human rights at the global level, which is not happening at present, as evidenced in the cases indicated, to the detriment of populations whose rights are affected. ”
For this reason, COICA, on behalf of the indigenous populations that have denounced the violation of their human rights, proposes to the countries that will evaluate the PRC -Hungary, Saudi Arabia and Kenya- a series of topics to be inquired, among which stand out what measures this country has taken for the effective protection of the human rights of the indigenous peoples in the Amazon basin where companies or banks operate under the direction of the Chinese government; what mechanisms they have put in place if violations of the human rights of indigenous peoples by agents under their direction are confirmed; as well as what measures have been adopted to promote systems of transparency, anti-corruption and right to access information in projects executed by companies with Chinese capital.
1 The Regional Coalition for Transparency and Participation is made up of the following organizations: Law, Environment and Natural Resources (DAR in Spanish) (Peru), Environment and Society Association (AAS in Spanish) (Colombia), Center of Studies for Labor and Agrarian Development (CEDLA in Spanish) (Bolivia) ) and Conectas Human Rights (Brazil).
CASES IN LATIN AMERICA
- Venezuela: Case of the Orinoco Mining Arc (AMO Project in Spanish). Regional Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon – ORPIA.
- Colombia: El Nogal Oil Block (BPN in Spanish). Organization of the Indigenous Peoples of the Colombian Amazon – OPIAC.
- Ecuador: Condor Mirador Project. Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon – CONFENIAE.
- Peru: Hydrocarbons Lot 58. Interethnic Association of Development of the Peruvian Jungle – AIDESEP.
- Brazil: Teles Pires and São Manoel dams on the Teles Pires river. Coordination of the Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon – COIAB.