Peru: Rights of Nature Legislation Debated in Congress, Indigenous Women Call for Action

SOURCE: Originally published by SERVINDI, translated to English by Awasqa.

The National Organization of Andean and Amazonian Indigenous Women of Peru (ONAMIAP) held a sit-in to demand the approval of the bill that seeks to recognize the rights of Mother Nature.

Following a call for action by the ONAMIAP, people gathered Monday morning [May 31] in front of Congress. Bill 6957, which recognizes the rights of Mother Nature, ecosystems, and species will be debated between Monday and Tuesday of this week.

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Paradigm shift

Speaking in behalf of ONAMIAP, Flor Barrientos, representative of the Federation of Women of the Province of Angaraes (FEMUPA), explained the need for a paradigm shift in the face of the climate emergency.

“We are not seeing Mother Nature as part of us, we are seeing her as an object of exploitation, as an object that can give us money,” she denounced.

In the same vein, Margot Mejía from the Regional Federation of Indigenous Women of Ayacucho (FEREMIA) explained the importance of caring for nature in the face of the advance of contamination.

“What the state does is loot us, steal our wealth, so that others can benefit. They only pollute, spoil Pachamama, our mother earth,” she questioned.

If one takes into account the multiple environmental affectations, Cecilia Larrea, from the TierrActiva organization, presented the reasons why it was necessary to reform regulations in this regard.

“Unfortunately, the current legal framework that promotes investment does not include limits in irreversibly degrading nature,” she said.

She also added that there are economic interests groups in the mining and hydrocarbon sectors, as well as in the marine exploitation sector, opposed to this law.

Read what the legislation proposal includes and the organizations that worked together, including ONAMIAP, to draft it [in Spanish]

Law in process

After being unanimously approved by the Andean, Amazonian and Afro-Peruvian Peoples, Environment and Ecology Commission (CPAAAAE) in April of this year, the bill will go to debate in the plenary.

As the legislative initiative indicates, it seeks to recognize nature as a living being with rights, which would lead to it being the subject of protection by the State.

Along these lines, the law seeks to prevent the impacts of privatization and commercialization on life systems and their natural components.

In addition, the project establishes mechanisms for the participation of indigenous peoples in the defense of nature.

The bill, prepared by Congressman Lenin Bazán, rescues concepts such as biodiversity or “Buen Vivir” and, at the same time includes precepts of ecocentrism, interculturalism, and human rights.

Current normative references in countries such as Argentina, Ecuador, New Zealand, and Uganda were used to prepare the law proposal.

Likewise, to draft the legislation, international declarations of the United Nations, the International Labor Organization and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights were taken into account.

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