Noa Tsinkitabo Akinai
Strengthening Indigenous Federations

What We Do

Concerned about the abuses of human rights in the Loreto region by extractive companies, for the past four years we have been partnering with a number of national, regional and local Indigenous Federations representing different ethnic groups in the regions of Loreto and Ucayali – AIDESEP, ORAU, ORPIO, ACODECOSPAT, FEDIQUEP, ORDIM, FECANOCO - and associated human rights organizations including Amazon Watch, Earth Rights International and Program for the Defense of Indigenous Rights.

Our activity has been principally in the Loreto region in oil lot 192 (former oil lot 1AB), where many oil companies have been operating in indigenous territories for over 40 years. In 2013 and 2014,due to the severe contamination caused by the activity of oil production and following much pressure from the different local Indigenous Federations, the Peruvian Government declared states of environmental emergency on the four rivers of Marañon, Corrientes, Tigre and Pastaza.

Our work aims at empowering indigenous organizations and leadership, and strengthening the struggle for human rights to be respected, particularly in relation to the activity of extractive industries, notably oil and gas companies, operating on indigenous territory.

During 2014, our work included technical and legal support to the indigenous organization and leadership throughout the dialogues with the Peruvian government. In 2015, we supported the work of the Instituto Chaikuni with the indigenous federation FECONAT in the prior consultation process on the new concession for oil lot 192 and the follow-up of the agreements reached.

Alianza Arkana will now be focusing on the activity of oil companies within Shipibo territories in both the Loreto and Ucayali regions. The great work that has been done in Loreto will be continued under the umbrella of our partner organization, Chaikuni Institute.

Together with ORAU, which is the regional political organization of the National Amazonian Peoples Organization, we have already run a number of workshops informing people of their legal rights in respect to oil and gas company activity in their homelands with the Shipibo communities of Paoyán, Santa Rosa de Tamaya Tipishka, Canaan and Nuevo Sucre.

In 2012, we supported a three-day workshop in which leaders from 25 Shipibo communities convened in Pucallpa to work on a regional plan for indigenous people, compared stories of oil and gas company tactics, and listened to communities already affected.

Our aim is to work closely with more Shipibo communities, informing them of their legal rights and the due process which should be followed to protect their lands. We further aim to educate communities on the possible consequences of oil company activity, especially informed by those already suffering long-term effects. This will help enable them to take more informed decisions regarding the operation of oil companies in their territories, and understand what actions are within their power to take.

Why are Indigenous Federations important?

The oil and gas coveted by foreign companies lies mostly beneath indigenous territories in the Peruvian Amazon. Peru’s government has leased the rights to these subsurface resources to private companies, inviting the inevitable and destructive conflict between companies and communities that has occurred in other regions in recent years. Up until relatively recently, Canaan and Nuevo Sucre were the only Shipibo communities that had suffered from oil and gas production on their territories. This has resulted in many well-documented health, social and environmental problems in these communities such as contamination resulting in no longer having free drinking water from their local creeks, infectious and other diseases, sudden unexplained deaths, and dislocated families.

Following a recent round of the government selling more concessions to oil companies in the Ucayali region of the Peruvian Amazon, many more Shipibo communities are now experiencing the early stages of oil and gas company activity on their territories. This consists of exploration, seismic testing, digging exploratory wells and starting production.

Lizardo Cauper, current President of ORAU and a Shipibo leader from the oil-effected community of Canaan advises that "there has to be a regional plan for indigenous people… We can’t just stand back while [the companies] come in." He warns, "Every one of our communities has or will be affected by the oil concessions."

For more information, see an open letter from the Council of the Shipibo Nation (Consejo Shipibo Konibo Xetebo) on the Shibibo Joi website here.

Support Ecosocial Justice

Your donation to Alianza Arkana helps us to support local indigenous organizations and, together with them and the communities they represent, organize workshops to inform people about their legal rights and take action in defense of their territories.