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Advocates International Joins Many in the International Community Urging Peru to End the Violence against its Indigenous People and Return to the Negotiating Table

Contact: Samuel B. Casey, Advocates International, 703-624-4092, sbcasey@advocatesinternational.org

WASHINGTON, June 17 /Christian Newswire/ -- Advocates International expressed its concern in a letter today to the President of Peru, Mr. Alan Garcia about the recent attack on indigenous protestors at the "Curva del Diablo" near Bagua on June 5, 2009, resulting in the deaths of at least twenty police and fifty protestors as well as the wounding of over a hundred indigenous civilians, including young children. Peruvian Law Professor Nina Balmaceda, Advocates' Latin American advisor, said: "we are deeply concerned and working to stop the reported use of unprovoked, excessive and unnecessary violence against civilians by armed Peruvian police. We are also concerned about the danger for further abuses of human rights portended by the Government's decision to declare a State of Emergency on Saturday, May 9, 2009. We are also concerned about the large number of wounded who still need medical attention as well as those civilians who have been imprisoned, often in military barracks where access to civilian medical care and support is limited and no guarantees for their human rights exist." Advocates' letter respectfully asks President Garcia and the Peruvian Parliament to:

1. Refrain immediately from using force on peaceful indigenous demonstrators and to respect the fundamental rights of the individuals who have been imprisoned.

2. Ensure that all those wounded in the confrontation receive timely medical attention.

3. Uphold the constitutionally guaranteed rights of indigenous peoples to self-determination, to their ancestral territories, and to prior consultation and consent over any policies and activities that affect them, including the fair settlement of their communal and private land claims and title disputes impacted by the natural resource concessions the government has granted or is currently negotiating to the detriment of the indigenous people who may have a claim to or a communal interest in these lands.

4. Suspend the State of Emergency and curfew in effect, and withdraw the special military forces that have been deployed in the conflict zone, and proactively seek a peaceful dialogue with the Amazonian communities to resolve this conflict.

5. Revoke the ten legislative decrees which undermine indigenous rights and endanger reserved forest spaces.

6. Repeal the decrees that permit police and military to fire freely on protestors while protecting government forces from subsequent persecution regardless of the unprovoked, excessive or unnecessary nature of the government's use of force.

7. Preserve and provide public access to all evidence pertaining to this conflict and see that a thorough, nonpartisan independent investigation takes place concerning the recent acts of violence, including tortures and kidnappings of Amazonian leaders, and ensure that the intellectual authors of the massacre are brought to justice.

Advocates President, Sam Ericsson, said: "It is our hope that the Peruvian government will relent from attacking its own people and renew a period in the history of Peru where the respect for the fundamental rights of all citizens is upheld, and the protection of fragile ecosystems is prioritized."

Next week, Advocates International will be assisting a delegation from Peru visit with interested members of Congress and the Obama administration regarding the recent violence and what can be peacefully done to reconcile the parties differences over land and natural resource development in Peru's Amazonas and Loreto Districts.

Click her to download an English and Spanish version of Advocates International's June 17, 2009 Letter to Peruvian President, Alan Garcia, with copies to the Peruvian Prime Minister, Yehude Simon, and the United States Ambassador to Peru, The Honorable P. Michael McKinley.

Advocates International is an international organization of attorneys in over 150 nations, including the United States, who seek to do justice with compassion, including through its Peace &Reconciliation Global Task Force, working to foster forgiveness and restoration of relations within individuals, families, communities and nations.