Photographs reveal clandestine tracks and illicit crops in the Kakataibo Indigenous Reserve in Peru

In the Kakataibo Indigenous Reserve in Peru, a clandestine landing strip has been discovered, dividing the Amazon forest. This was observed during an overflight on March 15, 2024. The reserve is located between the regions of Loreto, Ucayali, and Huánuco.

Indigenous leaders and representatives from Aidesep and Fenacoka reported seeing two other open pits in the forest and a large amount of illegal coca leaf crops during the overflight. This indicates that drug trafficking is present in the territory. The North and South Kakataibo Indigenous Reserve was established in 2021, but it has been heavily invaded by illegal activities, putting at risk the indigenous people living there.

Satellite images from May 2023 revealed deforested areas, unauthorized forest roads, and coca leaf crops within the reserve. Indigenous organizations have called for concrete action by the Peruvian government to protect the Kakataibo people in isolation. Precautionary measures have been requested from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to safeguard the rights of indigenous communities facing threats.

During the overflight, indigenous leaders reported sightings of clandestine landing strips, deforested areas, and illegal crops throughout the reserve. They expressed concerns about the lack of protection for isolated peoples and the continuous advance of illegal activities in their territory. The presence of drug trafficking poses a significant threat to indigenous communities and the delicate ecosystem of the Amazon forest.

Despite repeated requests for protection measures, the Peruvian State has not taken direct action to address these threats facing indigenous communities in isolation. Indigenous leaders continue to advocate for preservation of their lands and protection of isolated peoples’ rights against rampant illegal activities encroaching on their territory.

By Aiden Johnson

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