School Students March Demanding Protection of the Amazon Water Resources

To mark the celebration of the International Day of Human Rights, last Monday hundreds of students from various educational institutions in Iquitos participated in a march through the main streets of the Loreto region capital. The students carried signs which demanded respect for the rights of people, especially the right to water.

This activity was organized by the Local Education Management Unit and the Water Committee, in coordination with the Regional Bureau of Education. In addition, it had support from Solsticio Peru, the Ombudsman’s Office, the Municipality of Maynas, the Office of Justice, Peace and Human Rights of the Iquitos Vicariate, among other institutions.

“Water: A Universal Right” was the slogan under which the school students march developed, seeking to raise awareness among the public and draw the authorities’ attention to take the necessary measures to ensure the protection of water resources for human consumption.

They gathered in the July 28 Square carrying signs and banners alluding to the defense of human rights, highlighting the right of the peoples of the Amazon to have sources of uncontaminated water.

Students of the National College of Iquitos, César Vallejo, Sacred Heart, Republic of Venezuela, The Lord of Miracles, Maria Parado de Bellido, Marshal Oscar R. Benavides, Corpus Christi, and others participated in this event.

At the end of the march there was a cultural event with the participation of the songwriter Jorge Millones, who along with his band played the songs from his latest album entitled Cascabel.

Since the beginning of 2012 various Loreto-based social organizations, grouped under the Water Committee, have begun a crusade to defend the main source of drinking water for the city of Iquitos, the Nanay River basin.

To date there have been various public awareness activities and civil society mobilizations to draw Iquitos residents’ attention to the importance of watershed protection.

These actions have intensified after the second quarter of this year, in which the company ConocoPhillips conducted 778 km of 2D seismic exploration work, which has cleared 180.74 hectares of vegetation. Additionally, in 22 seismic testing lines ConocoPhillips has made 15,560 dynamite detonations (one explosion every 50 meters).

Deborah Rivett, Wednesday, 19 December 2012

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