Chirapaq Celebrates 25 Years of Empowering Indigenous Communities

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In Peru, The Hunger Project has worked in partnership with Chirapaq (Center for Indigenous Peoples' Cultures of Peru) since 1997. We are honored to congratulate them on the tremendous milestone of their 25th anniversary. Chirapaq has played a key role in the historic reclamation of the identity of indigenous people in Peru and across Latin America.

Below is a message from Chirapaq celebrating the occasion.

25 Years for Our Peoples and Cultures

To our brothers and sisters, who have made our work possible through these years, from whom we have learned and with whom we share dreams and hopes for the future.

March 15, 1986-2011

CHIRAPAQ, which for the Quechua people of Ayacucho means “flashing of stars,” arose 25 years ago, when our country was disrupted with intense internal violence and many indigenous peoples lost their lives. This experience forced to us to join with our brothers and sisters, the main victims of this violence, in a shared commitment. It was the beginning of a long journey in which we have fought to defend and strengthen our culture and identity and to gain recognition of our economic, social, political and cultural rights as persons and peoples.

In the last 30 years indigenous peoples have achieved the ILO Convention 169, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, The Expert Mechanism and the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The result of this process obligates national governments to respect and to recognize the rights of indigenous peoples on the basis of an international standard, legislating and implementing laws and policies according to these instruments and mechanisms as part of the UN system and signers of these commitments.

However, in Peru, the Law of Indigenous People´s Right to Prior Consultation is still pending, in spite of being an urgent right to guarantee the life and the territory of our towns in which the State superposes, granting concessions rights to transnational companies.

Since Peru is one of the countries committed to the Millennium Development Goals and reporting advances in the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, we must emphasize that the economic growth of the country has not yet been reflected in the Andean and Amazonian sector. In these areas, more than 800 thousand indigenous children and adolescents live in conditions of poverty and extreme poverty (UNICEF, 2010), while 47% of women of the rural mountains, and 48.3% of women of the rural forests are in extreme poverty (FAO, 2003). The task of including an approach of equitable distribution of the country´s income and wealth — an approach that includes indigenous peoples as full participants with legal rights — is still pending.

With the presidential elections less than a month away, and in recognition that we are a country of indigenous origin, we demand that the political parties include the agenda of priorities of our peoples and the implementation of our rights with concrete actions in the next government administration.

Indigenous peoples have succeeded in opening constructive dialogue with the States, and in having influence in the UN system at the highest levels. We will continue taking diplomatic and strategic actions to ensure that our priorities become international policies which shape national legislation, and lead us to be recognized as plural, diverse countries and societies, free from exclusion and discrimination.

Within the framework of our 25 years, we shared with you the pride and the satisfaction of contributing to cultural affirmation, to the development of intercultural education and health, and to the validation of the Andean and Amazonian diet. In addition we have created opportunities and mechanisms where Andean and Amazonian women, children and youth come together, building and strengthening skills that prepare them to assume leadership in the local, national and international plane. Creating their own proposals and initiatives, they are acting to achieve their own agenda in their own name.

In this celebration we renew our commitment and we urge our brothers and sisters of Peru and the world to reflect on the richness of our multiple cultures, to understand the value. Join with us in the defense of the individual and collective rights of all our peoples in order to construct a society that is proud of the profound resource inherent in its diversity — a society which promotes development with equality for all.

Lima, March 15, 2011

CHIRAPAQ (Centro de Culturas Indígenas del Perú)


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