Red Muqui: 20 Years Accompanying the People in the Defense of their Collective and Territorial Rights

Red Muqui 20 años aniversario

We are celebrating our anniversary this October, as this year Red Muqui is celebrating its 20th anniversary accompanying and defending the rights of communities and populations affected by mining. Perhaps, therefore, it is important to explain where the name Red Muqui comes from. In fact, we adopted it from the Andean legend “el Muqui,” a character that inhabited the ancient tunnels where minerals were extracted from and to whom tribute (“pagos”) had to be paid so that mining activities could be carried out without harm. In this sense, Red Muqui’s objective was to create a space oversee mining activities, given the large number of cases of rights violations due to the impacts of the “mining boom” in recent decades.

In October 2003, the Muqui Network was formed with the support and initiative of the Episcopal Commission for Social Action (CEAS), which brought together a series of human rights and environmental institutions. Incidentally, it was in the case of Tambogrande (Piura) where the network began its first actions in defense of the rights of the communities and populations of the San Lorenzo valley threatened by a mining project in the area.

During this time there have been several cases that we have accompanied through the network, among which we can highlight the case of Rio Blanco in Ayabaca and Huancabamba in Piura, the case of Conga in Cajamarca, the case of the Cañaris community in Lambayeque, the case of the Cruz de Mayo community, and the Parón lagoon in Caraz-Ancash, as well as the cases of La Oroya and Doe Run and the forced resettlement in Morococha by the Chinalco mining company in Junín, the cases of Glencore in Espinar (Cusco), Las Bambas in the southern mining corridor (Cusco and Apurímac), the case of the Tambo valley, and Tía María in Arequipa, among others. In most of these cases, the Muqui Network has provided technical and legal support, as well as permanent accompaniment through the network’s local partners in the territories.

Many of the aforementioned cases are still active today, and the network’s accompaniment work, therefore, continues. In some cases, the effects and impacts of mining in the territories have worsened. It should also be noted that in recent decades mining expansion has been accentuated and has been enthusiastically promoted by most governments in office, due, among other things, to the high demand for raw materials, mainly copper in the international market. Everything seems to indicate that this mining extractivism is going to deepen even more, since, under the name of energy transition, the intention is to extract more minerals, especially the so-called transition minerals such as lithium, nickel, copper, among others, to be used for the production of lithium batteries.

Faced with this scenario, the Muqui Network has a series of proposals that we believe should be discussed with all the actors involved in the mining agenda in the country. We call this working document “The Muqui Agenda”, which can be summarized as follows: a) Mining reform and respect for autonomy, collective territorial rights and participation of communities, indigenous peoples and populations in areas impacted by mining; b) Respect for human rights, effective protection of human rights defenders, no criminalization of human rights defenders, no criminalization of mining activities; c) The need to protect the rights of indigenous peoples and communities in the areas impacted by mining; and d) The need for the mining industry to respect the rights of indigenous peoples and communities in the areas impacted by mining, effective protection of defenders, no criminalization of protest and impunity; c) Protection of water, territory, environmental surveillance and monitoring and integrated watershed management; d) Protection of human and environmental health; compliance with the policy and the special multisectoral plan for the exposed population; and e) Strengthening of alternatives to extractivism from the territories based on their autonomy, community economies, gender justice and construction of buen vivir.

Jaime Borda

Jaime Borda

Jaime Borda / Secretario Ejecutivo de la Red Muqui.

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  • We are a network of Peruvian institutions that at the local, regional, national, and international level, defends and promotes the recognition, respect, and exercise of the rights of communities and populations, as well as sustainable development, where mining activities are planned and/or being carried out to analyze their social, environmental and cultural implications.

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