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11 May 2010 | | | |

Pillaged Amazonia

Pluspetrol Resource Corporation NV and Dutch state accused before PPT

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One of the 30 cases to be considered by the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) that will session in Madrid, is the conflict caused by Pluspetrol Resource Corporation NV in the Peruvian Amazon.

The Netherlands- based Argentinean oil corporation is accused of violating the rights of the Quechua people living in Pastaza river’s basin, which have been displaced by the hydrocarbon extractions.

The Peruvian state established a police control system on the neighboring indigenous communities of Pluspetrol operations, thus violating the fundamental rights of the indigenous peoples of the area, reads the executive summary of the case filed before the PPT.

According to public registry in The Netheralnds, Pluspetrol is worth 3.6 billion euros. Since it is a corporation, little is known about the shareholders of the company’s headquarters. According to the National Comission for the Surveillance of Corporations And Stocks of Peru - CONASEV – a financial corporation called Centennial Partners S.A.R.L would control the company with 85% of the total shares.

The accusation also applies to the Dutch state “for letting a corporation carry out these unacceptable polluting activities in its home country to benefit from its tax laws. This also implies an illegitimate transfer of resources from the South to the North, to the detriment of the least advantaged peoples”.

As a result of the violation of the rights of the Amazon people living in the region where Pluspetrol is carrying out extraction activities, the indigenous communities organized a protest on March 2008, which implied taking over the oil facilities, especially its airport.

They were trying to generate an atmosphere that would provoke the dialogue with the corporation. However, the answer of the Peruvian state and the corporation was repression and persecution of the leaders involved.
22 indigenous leaders were imprisoned for weeks and months. One of them was jailed for 18 months. They have now been all released and acquitted of the charges.

The judgement refers to a policy of criminalization of the social protest and makes it clear that ILO’s 169 Convention should be considered when judging this conflict.

The accusation before the PPT, which will session in the Spanish capital, Madrid, in parallel to the Summit of Heads of State and Government of Latin America and the European Union is to raise awareness about the conflict and demand the Group and the Peruvian state to compensate the people for the environmental impacts in the Pastaza basin and to respect the individual and collective rights of the Quechua people.

Photo: www.asocamerlat.org

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