Date: 27 May 2010
EXILED INDIGENOUS LEADER DETAINED AT AIRPORT
Alberto Pizango, leader of AIDESEP (Asociación Interétnica de Desarrollo de la Selva Peruana) was in exile in Nicaragua from
mid-June 2009. He was granted asylum by the Nicaraguan authorities after he sought refuge in the Nicaraguan embassy in
Peru's capital, Lima, after the Peruvian authorities accused him of being responsible for violence which led to the deaths of 33
people in Amazonas department, northern Peru, on 5 June 2009. One year on from those events, Alberto Pizango is returning to
Peru and to his position as leader of AIDESEP.
Alberto Pizango was charged with "rebellion, sedition and conspiracy against the state and the constitutional order", as well as
with "apology of crimes against public order". However, at the time of the violence on 5 June 2009, Alberto Pizango was in Lima,
hundreds of kilometres away. The evidence for the charges appears to rest solely on a press conference given by Alberto Pizango
on 15 May 2009 where he called for an "Indigenous insurgence" against the government. At the press conference he apparently
clarified that the call for insurgency was a call to the government to annul a series of laws which were being passed without the
free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous people, as a first step to initiating a dialogue as equals. He publicly retracted this
call the following day in the presence of the Human Rights Ombudsperson and this retraction was posted on AIDESEP’s website
as well as being reported in the press.
On 5 June 2009, 33 people were killed and at least 200 injured after police officers dispersed a road blockade organised by
Awajún and Wampís Indigenous people in a stretch of the Fernando Belaúnde Terry highway, known as the Curva del Diablo
(Devil’s Bend) leading to Bagua, in Bagua province and Bagua Grande, in Utcubamba province. Among the 33 people who were
killed, 23 were police officers and 10 were civilians, including five Indigenous people. Eleven of the police officers were killed
while they were held hostage by Indigenous protestors at the Petroperú Pumping Station No. 6. 80km from Bagua near the town
of Imacita, Bagua province; 12 were killed during the police operation at the road blockade and the whereabouts of one police
officer remains unknown.
Amnesty International considers that these tragic events were the predictable and preventable result of the continued disregard
by the Peruvian authorities of their duty to respect, promote and protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples in the Amazon region.
International human rights standards, including the International Labour Organization’s Convention 169 and the UN Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which protect Indigenous Peoples against losing their land and resources in the name of
development have been adopted precisely to avoid loss of life and livelihood and to ensure that communities enjoy all their
human rights, indispensable for their dignity, without discrimination.
Indigenous Peoples have the right to be consulted in good faith before the adoption and implementation of legislative or
administrative measures that may affect them. However, in 2008, the authorities passed a series of decree laws over the use of
land and resources in regions of the country rich in natural resources including the Amazon region and did not consult them.
When Indigenous peoples protested against these decree laws demanding their human rights, not only were they not listened to,
but on 5 June 2009 they suffered ill-treatment and torture, they were arbitrarily detained, and some were killed.
FU on UA: 123/10 Index: AMR 46/008/2010 Issue Date: 27 May 2010