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Peru Indian rep shuns official report on conflict

Peru Indian rep shuns official report on conflict

A Peruvian Indian representative has condemned the results of an official probe into bloody June clashes between police and Amazon Indians that left 33 dead.
Awajun Indian Jesus Manaces said Tuesday that he was refusing to sign the final report for an investigation that he was appointed to, saying the document was slanted toward the government.
The report says the government failed to consult Indians about decrees affecting their lands, but blames Indians _ egged on by non-governmental organizations _ for starting the violence in Peru's northern Amazon.
The results were received Tuesday by President Alan Garcia's Cabinet chief, Javier Velasquez. But only four committee members for the investigation out of seven signed off on the final report: a Catholic priest and three former politicians who held high-ranking posts in Garcia's government.
"Will this upset indigenous communities? Definitely," Manaces told The Associated Press. "We cannot call this consensus."
Asked if he expected the report to cause further unrest, Manaces said, "That's certainly the expectation."
Peru's Amazon Indians blockaded jungle highways and rivers on and off for nearly a year to protest oil and mining development on their lands and 11 pro-investment decrees issued by Garcia in 2008. Congress repealed two of the decrees in August 2008, and two more following June clashes that left 10 civilians and 23 police dead, with 82 civilians wounded by gunfire.
The investigation found that opposition congressmen, labor groups, NGOs and some local religious figures incited Indians to violence and says that Indians started the clashes by mobbing a group of police as they tried to clear a highway blockade. It says the police were forced to open fire in self-defense.
Manaces said the committee did not collect testimony corroborating this version of events, and called it the "personal opinion" of ex-Labor Minister Susana Pinilla, one of the committee members who wrote the report.
Indians say police attacked first, advancing and shooting AK-47s at protesters armed only with spears and rocks.
Created by the government in September in response to international pressure, the investigatory committee was questioned from the start. The government ignored calls from a U.N. envoy for international participation in the probe and failed to give the committee a budget to pay for investigators, telephone calls, office supplies and other basic needs.
Velasquez said Tuesday that objections from committee members were part of the "democratic process," and would be included as appendices in the official report.


Updated : 2020-12-04 01:00 GMT+08:00