In a historic win for indigenous communities in the Amazon of Peru, a judge ruled that the state-owned petroleum company Petroperu cannot conduct oil exploration and exploitation in specific plots of land in the Sierra del Divisor national park.
The demand was placed in 2017 after Peru’s ministry of energy and Petroperu created plans to create “oil zones” within the park. Legal action was taken by one of the largest indigenous community organizations of the region, Organización Regional de Pueblos Indígenas del Oriente (ORPIO). The ruling, which disables Petroperu from authorizing any exploration or exploitation of the land, is historic because it’s the first in favor of indigenous groups that live in voluntary isolation.
The now protected areas are part of the Ucayali and Loreto regions close to the border with Brazil. The uncontacted groups in this region were recognized by the Peruvian state in 2018 and 2019. These plots of land were owned by private petroleum companies and were given back to the state when the companies shut down.
The judge for the case ruled that the Peruvian state must establish a “strict protection zone” safeguarding the area, according to Reuters.
Cover photo: Andina