Thursday, June 18, 2009

Peruvian MPs repeal controversial land edicts

After roughly two months of protest including days of ugly confrontations, Peru’s Congress overturned a pair of controversial land laws decreed by President Alan Garcia:
The decrees had been issued by Alan Garcia, the Peruvian president, in 2007 to give him powers to implement a free trade pact and outlined plans to regulate investment in the Peruvian Amazon.

However, indigenous groups said they were not consulted on the laws and that the decrees would affect their ancestral lands…

The measure was approved 82-12 after a five-hour debate in Peru's single-chamber legislature, attended by about 30 Amazon native Indians of the Ashanika community.
"This is a historic day for all indigenous people in Peru," said Daysi Zapata- director of the indigenous rights group Aidesep- though she also acknowledged that seven of Garcia’s decrees are still on the books.

Peruvian Prime Minister Yehude Simon- who has come under fire for his handling of the protests- said that the changes wouldn’t put at risk Peru's free trade pact with the U.S.

In the meantime, Peru's foreign minister and Bolivian President Evo Morales have engaged in a war of words that included recalling Peru’s ambassador in La Paz. Also, Peruvian indigenous leader Alberto Pizango arrived yesterday in Nicaragua days after the Central American country granted him political asylum.

Image-BBC News
Online Sources- BBC News, Reuters, The Latin Americanist, AP, Al Jazeera English

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