Communities in Amazon, Peruvian coast ask UN for help to fight spills

Lima, Feb 25 (EFE).- Communities living in the Amazons and the Peruvian coast came together Friday in Lima to call on the United Nations for help in the face of oil spills, something that has directly affected them for decades and the last of which happened from an accident in the Lima Sea in January.

UN rapporteur on Toxic Substances and Human Rights, Marco Orellana, who was on an academic visit to Peru, met the representatives of the communities and received their plea.

“The spills that have been verified on the central coast of Peru can help to broaden the consciousness of humanity, but that is not enough,” Orellana told EFE.

Representatives of native communities of the jungle and the northern coast of the country presented their experiences and petitions to the rapporteur regarding the spills that have affected them.

Associations of fishermen affected by the January spill at the La Pampilla refinery, operated by Repsol, representatives of indigenous Amazonian organizations and communities in northern Peru demanded equal importance as rest of the citizens from the government in addressing their concerns.

Several representatives directly called for the closure of refineries and extraction sites, blaming them for the spills, and consequent water pollution, which in turn poisons the fish and causes diseases.

Georgina Rivera, president of the Indigenous Council of the Peruvian Amazon and a member of the community of Nazareth in the Amazon region, told EFE they were calling for UN support because they “live daily” with the contaminated water of the Chiriaco River – their “market and livelihood” – since a pipeline spill operated by state-owned Petroperu in 2016.

Moreover, these communities also denounced alleged favoring of large enterprises by the Peruvian State, while several representatives demanded studies and research to learn how contaminated water contaminated has been affecting them.

In their petition to the UN, the communities called for bringing an end to the impunity enjoyed by extracting firms in cases of spills, and stronger environmental laws.

“We need concrete measures, steps to start changing our trajectory, because at this point we see the climate emergency, the systematic poisoning of the planet and that must be reversed,” Orellana told EFE. EFE


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