The Amazon is the most biodiverse place on earth. Over 30 million people and over 350 indigenous groups call the Amazon their home. This includes some of the world's last Indigenous Peoples Living in Voluntary Isolation and Initial Contact (PIAVCIs).
Amazonian indigenous peoples rely almost entirely on their natural environment. Their survival is deeply connected to the survival of the rainforest. The destruction of the Amazon is a direct violation of their right to life.
We all owe the Amazon for our livelihoods. The health of the planet relies on the health of the Amazon. The rainforest contains a tremendous amount of carbon. If destroyed, massive amounts of carbon would enter the atmosphere, rapidly accelerating climate change.
The peoples and environment of the Amazon are threatened by rapid economic development. Natural resource extraction—like oil, gas, and mining—and large-scale infrastructure projects—like roads and dams—are the greatest threats.
Corporations and governments argue that these projects will hugely expand the countries’ wealth. That is not always true. The economic and environmental costs of these projects often exceed their economic benefits. They bring deadly diseases to indigenous communities. They ruin traditional livelihoods. They destroy the environment that we all rely on.
The powerful elite enjoy the benefits. Everyone else is left to pay the costs.
Indigenous communities suffer the greatest consequences for these huge projects. They are the biggest stakeholders.
Yet corporations systematically exclude indigenous peoples when planning and designing destructive development projects. Corporations do not even listen to the concerns of the people who live on the land they destroy.
What We're Doing About It
After ten years of working in the region, we opened our Amazon Office in Lima in 2011.
We aim to enhance the capacity of national and regional legal systems to recognize and respond to indigenous groups’ claims to their territories.
We work with affected communities and their federations, training them in law, the environment, litigation, and other legal tools.
We support indigenous peoples’ ability to resist and mitigate the destructive environmental and territorial impacts of extractive operations and infrastructure projects in their territories.
We conduct legal advocacy and support for indigenous groups threatened by unsustainable and environmentally harmful development projects in the Amazon Region.
We develop innovative legal strategies to amplify the concerns and stories of indigenous groups in the face of unsustainable development projects.
We work on strengthening communities by helping form forming indigenous women’s groups and youth leadership groups.