ACTION ALERT: Canada must halt free trade agreement with Peru

June 11, 2009

Indigenous communities in Peru have been holding peaceful protests since April 9 to condemn new laws that would allow for the rapid industrialization of the Amazon rainforest. These laws were put in place by the Peruvian government to further facilitate its proposed free trade agreements with Canada and the United States.

Over 30,000 Indigenous protesters have blocked roads, rivers and railways to force the repeal of these new laws, which would make way for intensified oil, mining, logging activities and massive agricultural projects, and to demand that they be consulted on all development planned on their land.

But at dawn on Friday, June 5, 600 Peruvian police in helicopters and on foot opened fire on protesters blocking a road near Bagua in the Peruvian Amazon. Conservative estimates indicate that 60 Indigenous and police have been killed. Police are accused of burning bodies then hiding them in the river and of removing the wounded from hospital to hide the real number of casualties.

Should Canada really be signing a free trade agreement with the Peruvian government when this is how they respond to legitimate protests against oil, mining and forestry projects that threaten to displace local and indigenous communities and further despoil Amazonian ecosystems?

Many of our elected Members of Parliament seem to think so.

The Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement gives Canadian resource companies new legal powers to challenge what few Peruvian laws stand in their way, while paying only lip service to labour rights and environmental protection. The House of Commons has already passed Bill C-24, the implementing legislation for the Agreement, without adding even a mention of human rights; it is currently before the Senate.

But the deal can still be stopped!

We need you to write to the Senate immediately and ask them to send the Canada—Peru FTA back to Parliament for reconsideration. The Senate cannot be allowed to rubber stamp this deal, which legitimizes state repression for the sake of boosting the profits of Canada’s oil patch and major mining companies. By using the form below, your letter will be copied to all the major party leaders so they know Canadians stand in solidarity with the Peruvian Indigenous protesters and oppose the free trade agreement.

In solidarity,

The Council of Canadians
Common Frontiers
MiningWatch Canada

– To send a letter directly from your browser, go to the Council of Canadians web site. You can also find a list of key Government and Senate email addresses on that site.