Washington International Law Journal


Despite the fact that Peru ratified ILO Convention 169 on December 2, 1993 and was therefore bound by those dispositions, it adopted public policies without consulting indigenous people. This lack of dialogue led to social conflict over the management of natural resources. In June 2009, a violent episode of social unrest emerged in the provinces of Bagua and Utcubamba during the government of Alan García after the entry into force of the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (“PTPA”). Indigenous people believed that PTPA aimed to sacrifice rainforest conservation for oil and mining exploitation. In this context, indigenous people grew frustrated and blocked a major highway. Such acts of violence resulted in deaths and injuries. Subsequently during the administration of Ollanta Humala, legal and administrative measures of free, prior, and informed consultation were adopted to change the historic exclusion of indigenous peoples. However, one year after the law was enacted there remain acts of violence and protest regarding free, prior, and informed consultation. This article focuses on the reformatory effects of the law and the symbolism it generates for indigenous peoples, as well as the unintended consequences of the law’s boundaries

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