Jaweskarin Ixon Onanti

What We Did

An important aspect of our work in eco-social justice is investigating abuses of human and nature rights in the Loreto and Ucayali region, together with our indigenous and other allies, using the information as a tool to lobby and reach out to national and international audiences through our blog, social media networks, and local, national and international media.

In the Ucayali region:

In 2016, we embarked upon action-research into the expansion of the oil palm industry in Ucayali, how this is impacting upon indigenous communities and territories, and the strategies affected communities are developing to resist land grabs and defend their territorial and cultural rights. We collected video testimonies from community-members in Santa Clara de Uchunya, whose traditional lands have been cleared of forest and converted to oil palm, and gathered evidence of the company’s violations of a government suspension order, which helped secure sanctions against the company. Read more about oil palm in Ucayali here.

During 2016, we hosted a number of researchers from internationally-renowned universities in the United States and Northern Europe. Margherita Capriola, a student from Stockholm University, undertook a research project into the adverse effects of climate change in the Peruvian Amazon, with a focus on the interrelation between macro-level policies and local-level impacts upon indigenous communities along the Ucayali river. Sarah Sax, a student from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, conducted research into the political ecology of oil palm cultivation in Ucayali and its implications for food sovereignty and security. The presence of these researchers contributes to Alianza Arkana’s own shared learning processes and enhances our ability to understand and respond to the most pressing issues facing the Peruvian Amazon today.

Earlier, in 2013, working with ORAU, the regional organization in Ucayali of AIDESEP, the National Amazonian Peoples’ organization, we created a map of the Ucayali area showing the different stages of oil company activity in indigenous communities and indicating which oil companies were operating in which territories. This map enabled us to target specific communities we later ran workshops for, informing them of their legal and human rights in relation to the operation of oil companies on their homelands.

In Loreto:

Beginning in July 2015, we have worked in the Loreto region with the organization Instituto Chaikuni, to stand with indigenous organizations in the defense of their rights. We continued supporting the work of Instituto Chaikuni and the indigenous Federation FECONAT to publish a report detailing the controversial and environmentally damaging activities of the oil company PlusPetrol Norte S.A. and of oil dependency in general in the Peruvian Amazon in the wake of the prior consultation process of more than 30 years of oil activity in the same area. For the latest report, click here.

In 2014, together with FEDIQUEP, we produced a film showing the mobilization of indigenous people on the river Pastaza, following years of government inaction in relation to their claims for basic human rights and grossly inadequate compensation for the damage to their natural environment and health caused by oil company activity.

Why is Investigation important?

Many of these human rights abuses and the social and environmental damage caused by large-scale extractive industries and activities such as illegal mining and logging happen in remote and marginalized indigenous communities.

In a remote region with severely limited access to communications technology and media channels, these reports enable indigenous peoples to make their voices heard about what is happening in the Peruvian Amazon. We are able to draw attention to stories that would otherwise never get published and complement these with accurate, firsthand information.

Our work aims, in partnership with local, regional and national indigenous organizations, as well as human rights organizations, to make these abuses more widely known both in Peru and in the international community and generate pressure on the relevant authorities and organizations to address these issues, ensure that indigenous communities have access to relevant information, build organizational capacity, create alliances on both national and international levels and secure justice.