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Peru government to seek repeal of controversial indigenous land laws

[JURIST] Peruvian Prime Minister Yehude Simon [official profile, in Spanish] announced Monday that the Executive Branch would ask the Peruvian Congress [official website, in Spanish] to repeal controversial land laws [Andina report, in Spanish] that led to indigenous protests and violent clashes last week when police attempted to disperse groups blocking access routes. Last week, the congress temporarily suspended legislative decree 1090, the Forest and Wild Fauna Law [text, PDF, in Spanish] and legislative decree 1064, establishing the legal framework for agricultural land usage [text, PDF, in Spanish] in the wake of the protests. Peru's largest indigenous organization, the Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Jungle (AIDESEP) [advocacy website], was excluded from Monday's negotiations, but will participate in talks beginning Tuesday. Also Monday, the Peruvian government signed a 12-point memorandum of understanding [Andina report, in Spanish] with indigenous groups promising to submit a proposal for repealing the laws to the congress by Thursday.

Peruvian President Alan Garcia [official website, in Spanish] decreed the controversial laws under powers to implement a free trade agreement with the US. The laws would open Amazon land to development by international companies. Simon maintained Tuesday that the repeal of the laws would not harm a Peruvian-US free trade agreement [Andina report, in Spanish]. In November 2008, Simon declared a state of emergency [JURIST news report] when violence broke out amidst indigenous protests over a new law reducing revenue to the province from local mining operations. In August 2008, protests over a controversial law [JURIST report] that reduced the majority by which a tribe must agree to sell communal land to oil and natural gas companies led the Peruvian government to declare a state of emergency over widespread indigenous protests.

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