Peru’s government on April 3 implemented a law that requires indigenous communities to be consulted on projects that affect them, an issue that has drawn attention over recent years as social and environmental conflicts over extractive industries such as mining have grown large and occasionally violent.
The law’s regulations, which were published in the official gazette, El Peruano, make the legislation official, but questions remain over how it will be implemented and enforced. The law was approved last August by Congress.
While a previous and informed consultation is part of the International Labor Organization’s Convention 169 on indigenous peoples, according to the law the results of this consultation are not binding.
It is also not clear to which communities the law will be applied.
“Not all inhabitants on Peruvian territory are indigenous peoples under [Convention 169’s] subjective and objective criteria,” said Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal.
But the law’s regulations were criticized by several large indigenous groups. In a joint statement, the Inter-Ethnic Development Association of the Peruvian Jungle, the National Confederation of Communities Affected by Mining, the National Agrarian Confederation, and the National Organization of Indigenous and Amazonian Women said the regulations do not take into account the recommendations of “thousands of indigenous leaders” that were the result of workshops around the country and that the regulations were written by 18 governmental agencies and only two indigenous and campesino organizations which do not fully “represent the more than 10 million indigenous Peruvians.”