Statement in Support of the Central Asháninka del Río Ene in their quest for Justice for Asháninka Defenders

Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK) expresses its deep concern at the circumstances surrounding the recent preliminary detention order against Indigenous leader Angel Pedro Valerio, president of the Central Asháninka del Río Ene (CARE). Given the importance of the case for the defence of Indigenous rights and the environment, we wish to draw the attention of the international community and Peruvian civil society organisations to the statement that CARE has published in this regard and urge the Peruvian State to guarantee due process and strict respect for Mr Valerio's rights.

The Public Prosecutor's Office is investigating Angel Pedro Valerio, as well as seven other Indigenous leaders, for allegedly being involved in the disappearance of four people in the Puerto Ocopa Native Community in April 2023. However, CARE and the Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest (AIDESEP) have pointed out various irregularities and describe the inclusion of Mr Valerio in this investigation as ‘arbitrary’.

In this context, RFUK:

  • Calls on the Peruvian justice system to clarify the facts related to the involvement of Angel Pedro Valerio and other Indigenous leaders in the events of 14 April 2023 in a thorough and unbiased manner, guaranteeing an impartial and transparent process.
  • Urges that the preliminary investigation continues in accordance with the highest standards of respect for human rights, ensuring that proceedings are conducted in full transparency and with full respect for due process.
  • Reiterates its position against any form of political persecution and demand that the search for the truth should not become a pretext to attack Ángel Pedro Valerio or the Central Asháninka del Río Ene (CARE), of which he is president.
  • Calls on the international community and Peruvian civil society organisations to maintain constant vigilance over this case and to support efforts to ensure justice and security in the region.
  • Urges donors who support Indigenous defenders to mobilise emergency funds to support CARE in its efforts to guarantee the fundamental rights of their president.

Ultimately, our commitment is to defend the rights of the Asháninka people and preserve their land and environment. We advocate for a fair and transparent process to clarify the facts and ensure the safety of all those involved in this case.

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