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Image courtesy of FENAMAD

An indigenous federation from south-east Peru wants exploration operations by Hunt Oil in a supposedly protected reserve in the Amazon to be suspended.

As reported by the Guardian, the group called FENAMAD, which claims to represent seven indigenous peoples from more than 30 communities, said in a statement last Friday, “This is not a fight against investment but a fight for a socially just, environmentally balanced and moral development. As a result we request. . . that operations – which are putting the cultural patrimony of the Harakbut people, the region and nation at risk – are stopped while the Master Plan for the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve [ACR] is brought up-to-date.”

FENAMAD states that there are “archaeological remains” in the ACR within “direct influence” of Hunt’s drilling, that the company itself has acknowledged this, and that as a result the Culture Ministry should intervene.

FENAMAD made six other requests, including that the process by which Hunt obtained its licence is investigated, that its contract is revised, that the heart of the ACR is kept “healthy,” and that indigenous peoples’ “own vision” of development is respected, the Guardian said.

The final demand said:

“We request, in the name of Peru’s indigenous peoples, that Hunt Oil, representatives of the national and regional government, the Ministry of Energy, and professionals from the extractive sector in general abandon, for ethical and moral reasons, opportunism, egoism and avarice, and respect the rights and territories of indigenous peoples.”

The concession where Hunt is operating, Lot 76, is estimated by the Energy Ministry to hold over 12 trillion cubic feet of natural gas – which could be more than Peru’s two biggest currently-producing concessions, Lot 56 and Lot 88, combined, the report said.

FENAMAD’s president, Klaus Quicque, criticized Hunt at a meeting about Lot 76 held at the National Amazon University of Madre de Dios on 15 February, saying that the company was exploiting the state’s absence in the region and creating divisions in indigenous communities, the Guardian said.

Hunt also has significant stakes in Lot 56 and Lot 88, together known as the Camisea gas project.

Expansion in Lot 88 was approved by the Energy Ministry last month, despite calls from UN entities and sectors from Peruvian and international civil society to suspend it, the Guardian said.

Hunt hasn’t commented.