IACHR: Peru without response to remedy oil spills

LIMA (HPD) – Peru does not have immediate answers to remedy those affected by oil spills that add up to more than a thousand events in a quarter of a century, an official from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights declared Thursday after finishing a working visit to the South American country.

Stuardo Ralón, rapporteur of the IACHR for Peru, said at a press conference that the country has “a structural flaw” in its actions after the dumping. While seeking to find the culprit of the spills in court, he continued, it seems “that no one is immediately responsible for the imminent damage to repair the population.”

The Guatemalan, who visited the South American country during the week as part of a commission focused on the impact of oil spills and the human rights situation, indicated that more than a thousand oil spills have been recorded in 25 years, especially in remote areas of the Amazon. Citizens “are abandoned, to their fate,” he said.

Ralón said that, in order to comprehensively address the effects caused by the spills, the normal functioning of the rule of law is needed so that the actions, programs and policies are carried out in a timely manner.

The rapporteur also met with leaders of indigenous peoples and fishing communities, who in their testimonies denounced that the State does not guarantee adequate reparation, nor the protection of those who were affected in their economic, social, cultural and environmental rights.

The IACHR official added that those affected suffer serious impacts on their health due to the lack of access to drinking water and that their food security and their right to work are also at risk, all in a context marked by poverty.

The spills in the Amazon are caused by ruptures of an old and extensive pipeline that transports crude oil from oil fields deep in the jungle to the Pacific Ocean coast. These discharges have caused contamination of the water that dozens of indigenous peoples drink.

On the coast, the best-known spill occurred in January when thousands of barrels of oil that were being discharged into a Repsol refinery fell into the Pacific off Lima. Pollution in sea and land left thousands of fishermen without work.

Ralón also met with President Pedro Castillo and other State authorities, including the President of Parliament. The official indicated that he will later issue a report on his visit to Peru.

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