"Is the state waiting for us to be killed?": death threats to defenders of Kichwa community Santa Rosillo de Yanayacu | Land Portal

The native Kichwa community santa Rosillo de Yanayacu, located in the Bajo Huallaga area( Huimbayoc district, San Martín region) has been threatened by groups of illegal loggers, who deforest the community's forest sowing threats and violence. For years, the community has been denouncing these permanent violations of its territory and against the lives of defenders. "Is the state waiting for us to be killed?! That we are no longer here fighting to defend the community?!", said one of the threatened community members, whose identity is being withheld.

At least three community members have reportedly been threatened with death to date. One of them indicated that he received the threat last Thursday, December 2, during the night, when he was returning from work to his home. The victim claimed that those responsible are illegal loggers, who acted in retaliation for the complaint that the community filed against them. These threats fall on him and other leaders of Santa Rosillo de Yanayacu. For this reason, they have demanded that the authorities – starting with the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights (MINJUSDH) and the Ministry of the Interior (MININTER) – verify the emergency situation in the area.

A communal authority denounced the seriousness of the problem: "The Police must enter the community, make a tour, it is not a lie what we say. You must investigate the territory and see what is done, they think they own, but they make disasters. Any day there will be no water, they are predators that do harm to the environment: while we conserve the environment, they are destroying it.

The community has been alerting the State to the dangers it has been going through for several years, such as land trafficking, illegal logging and coca planting. These threats not only mean an environmental crime and damage to the forest, but also insecurity about the territory and the precariousness of their livelihoods. The community asks for protection and territorial legal security, since they do not yet have a formal property title, which also prevents them from accessing productive projects that allow them to benefit from their forests in a sustainable way. Similarly, 45% of its territory is superimposed on the premises of the Timberland company. Given the critical situation of the community, an ad hoc commission has been formed to achieve the degree.

Another member of the community mentioned the following: "I am from here, so I defend my ancestral customs. I'm here, but you can't do it anymore. It's 4 years of trouble, what do we eat? They drink and eat happily at the expense of trees, wood, the easiest. If there are so many complaints, why don't they enforce? We're not going to let them do what they want, because if not, what are we going to live on? If we can't even have projects, a fish farm, or legal crops. They want to live off the easy thing, preying on our forest and our jungle."

Despite having raised their voices in front of national and international organizations, including the intervention of the Regional Office for South America of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the community and the Federation of Indigenous Peoples Kechwa Chazuta Amazonia (FEPIKECHA) continue to demand true state protection. Either through the Protocol to guarantee the protection of human rights defenders of the MINJUSDH or the request for personal guarantees. The Kichwa people demand justice, the real defense of their integrity and a life free of violence.

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