We combine people power, testimony and activism with research, documentation and legal work.
1. We document abuses of human and nature rights and search for good practices. We produce multimedia advocacy materials such as reports, films and articles, targeted at all audience levels ranging from local communities to the world at large. We collaborate with other media outlets, and facilitate connections between outside teams and indigenous organizers within Peru. By building international alliances, we aim to raise consciousness regarding Amazonian issues, both locally and across the planet. We generate material for use in campaigning at local, national and international levels, and in the training of local groups and leaders.
2. We provide technical assistance and legal expertise in support of the democratic processes and strategies led by grassroots groups. Special attention goes to respecting the rights to healthy life and clean water. We support indigenous peoples’ rights to determine their own development goals, and to occupy and use their traditional territories. We also work to secure prior, free and informed consent of national land appropriation as a form of fundamental, internationally protected collective rights.
We continue to accompany FECONAT in the building and empowerment of an organization with strong and transparent leadership.
As part of our work with FECONAT, Chaikuni is involved in the follow-up process of the historic Saramurillo accords signed between Amazonian indigenous organizations from five river basins affected by oil activity and the Peruvian state in December 2016 following a 117-day mobilization on the Marañón river. We provided support both on and off the ground to this critical process for environmental and social justice through legal advising during negotiations, communications at national and international levels, and along with our ally Amazon Watch, we coordinated a North/South America solidarity action in tandem with the indigenous mobilization against the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota.
We support FECONAT to monitor adherence to the agreements of the Prior Consent Process that took place in 2015 and the Saramurillo process in 2016, including grants for Kichwa students, land titling, and remediation of affected areas. Chaikuni will support FECONAT for the implementation of a truth commission, one of the most important accords signed in Saramurillo, which will investigate over 40 years of rights violations of affected communities from five river basins.
Alliance With The Take Off : The Condor And The Eagle Documentary (2015)
We collaborated with The TAKE OFF on the making of The Condor and Eagle documentary with the objective of strengthening a broader north-south alliance between indigenous leaders and activists who fight the abuses of big oil and mining companies on their territories. We helped to connect activists from Texas (TEJAS) with the Kichwa people of the Tiger river. The team came down to Iquitos and documented the dialogue of the prior consent process on the concession to be granted in oil lot 192. They then travelled with the leaders upriver, all the way to the border with Ecuador, to find out more about the reality of 45 years of oil activity in the Amazon and gathered evidence for the next steps to be taken by the indigenous federation, specifically for the legal defense of indigenous leaders persecuted for defending their rights. For short videos, click here. The full documentary will be released in 2018.
We define strategies with FECONAT to prepare for a new negotiation round in Peru’s most important oil block 192 in 2019. All stakeholders should be fully aware that oil prices dropped significantly and that at the heart of the debate is the search for sustainable economic alternatives for the Loreto region as a whole.
We are participating in investigation work of the University of Antwerp, the Catholic university of Lima and the UNAP on the right to clean water in the Amazonian river basins.
We engage actively in the movement that promotes the protection of indigenous territorial rights as the best path to conservation of the most beautiful places on our planet.
Pastaza The Movie (2014)
The Chaikuni Institute partnered with the indigenous Quechua Federation of the Pastaza, FEDIQUEP, to produce a film documenting the impact of more than 45 years of oil contamination in Peru’s biggest oil lot, 192 (ex-1AB), in the Amazon, and the state’s unfulfilled promises to find solutions to the immense damage it has caused. Thanks to the ongoing relevance of the documentary, it is presently used as an advocacy tool by the federation and other indigenous organizations such as AIDESEP. The movie was also an important tool at the UN Climate Change Conference in Lima in 2014 (COP20).
Watch the full film on the PASTAZA website.
Alliance With Josh Fox : Documentary How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change (2014)
Together with Amazon Watch, we collaborated with acclaimed documentarian Josh Fox (Gasland) in preparation for his new documentary on climate change. We accompanied him and his team deep into the Amazon to document a scandalous oil spill caused by a pipeline rupture close to the majestic Maranon river, a principal tributary to the Amazon. The pipelines crossing this part of the northern Peruvian Amazon are over 45 years old and must be replaced. If not, oil spills will continue to occur, destroying ecosystems and human life. In 2013 and 2014, only three major oil spills were registered. The responsible companies are Pluspetrol Norte S.A. and state company Petroperu. Both received multimillion-dollar penalties for their irresponsible practices.
PLUSPETROL REPORTS (2014 – 2015)
We published several investigation reports and articles on the abuses of oil company Pluspetrol in tandem with a broader collaborative effort that led to the company failing in its bid for a new license in the area. For the latest report, click here. The reports are an important tool for the federations to use in their advocacy work at national and international levels, but are critical at the community level for internal communication and reinforcement – to never forget and to spread the word.
Protection Of The Nanay River (Since 2013)
The Nanay river is one of the most pristine river basins in the northern Peruvian Amazon. Its crystal-clear waters are the source of life not only for the unique surrounding ecosystems but also for the more than 800,000 inhabitants of the jungle city of Iquitos. We supported important local groups such as the Iquitos Water Committee to shine a light on the huge threat that the oil concession granted to Conoco Philips poses to the drinking water of Iquitos and surrounding communities.
The protest grew stronger and stronger until Conoco Philips withdrew. Unfortunately another oil company, GranTierra Energy, took over and started exploring the Nanay area. This company provides support to local communities and to the regional conservation area in Nanay to avoid arousing opposition. However, the state of alert remains, and as part of civil society, we stand together with the Water Committee ready to defend Iquitos’ drinking water and the Nanay river ecosystems.
Solutions For Polluted Amazon River Basins (2013 – 2014 – 2015)
Since the 1970s, oil companies have been active in the northern Peruvian Amazon. They have caused and are still causing disasters for humans and our environments. In 2013 and 2014, we were part of the group of advisors to the permanent dialogue between the Peruvian Government and indigenous organizations representing the Maranon, Corrientes, Tiger and Pastaza river basins. Four indigenous organizations, FEDIQUEP, FECONAT, ACODECOSPAT and FECONACO, united to find solutions to the social and environmental problems caused by 45 years of oil exploitation on their territories – oil lot 192. Their historic capacity for democratic negotiation resulted in official state investigations revealing huge levels of contaminants in the four river basins.
In 2013 and 2014, the Peruvian Government was obliged to declare a state of environmental and sanitarian emergency in all four rivers. Two multi-sectorial commissions, three working groups and innumerable meetings later, in March 2015, three federations decided to sign final agreements with the Government. The fourth federation, FECONAT, considered the agreements insufficient and refused to sign. One of the key agreements is the State’s investment of 50 million Peruvian soles in the clean-up of severely contaminated areas. Although the agreement recognizes the urgency and importance of remediation, the amount is meager compared to the task of cleaning up the contaminated sites officially registered today, which number over 92. Given the authorities’ bad habit of forgetting their promises, indigenous leaders must continue working hard to see the agreements implemented.
Rights Of Nature Tribunal (2014 – 2015)
In 2014, together with FEDIQUEP, we submitted the case of the four polluted river basins in the northern Peruvian Amazon to the international people’s tribunal, the Tribunal for Rights of Nature. The Tribunal was presided over by economist Alberto Acosta, former President of the Constituent Assembly of Ecuador, which recognizes nature as a subject of rights. The intention of the Tribunal is to provide systemic Rights of Nature-based alternatives to the false solutions and failed negotiations of governing States.
Amongst the judges were Tom Goldtooth (Dine/Dakota, director of the Indigenous Environmental Network of Minnesota, Turtle Island, USA), Osprey Orielle Lake (Executive Director of Women’s Earth & Climate Action Network-WECAN, USA), and Atossa Soltani (founder of Amazon Watch, USA ), Terisa Turner (professor of Sociology and Anthropology, Specialist Energía, ex-UN, Canada). The Tribunal accepted the case and determined that a special session be convened in Peru to hear the case in more detail. In December 2015, the Tribunal was held in Paris, parallel to the 21st climate change conference. We coordinated with our allies to submit and reinforce the case against the ongoing and unjust persecution of the Kichwa leaders of Oil Lot 192 as defenders of Mother Earth.
Emblematic Prior Consent Process for Kichwas (2015)
We were invited by FECONAT, the representative organization of the Kichwas of the Tiger river, to share our expertise in the prior-consent process on the oil concession to be granted on oil lot 192. As the first prior-consent process on an exploitation concession within in a previously contaminated area, this process was emblematic for Peru. For FECONAT, the process lasted from May until August and led to nine important agreements for future operations in the area. It is important to mention that, after a complicate bidding round, only a two-year concession was given, meaning that in August 2017 there will probably be a new negotiation to grant a concession in Peru’s most important oil lot.
We will support the Kichwa leaders persecuted for defending their rights.
We will publish a report that testifies as to the experience of the emblematic prior-consent process in oil lot 192.
We will reinforce the alliances with Nanay communities to monitor extractive industries on their territories and to ensure the defense of the pristine waters of the Nanay.
We will take an active role in the Rights of Nature movement and the defense of indigenous territories as the best pathway to conservation of our planet.