Having lived for millennia in the forests of the ‘Amazonian Trapezoid’, today the Amacayacu National Park, indigenous communities there are now treated as an obstacle to conservation. Their rights have been systematically violated since the National Park was created in 1975.
In April 2015 the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism signed an agreement to carry out the construction of a tourist trail, but without previous consultation of local communities. This infrastructure project would include the construction of extensive walking routes and amenities along an 8km route through pristine forest, communities and rivers.
The Tikuna, Yaguas and Cocamas who live in San Martín de Amacayacu have denounced the violation of their right to free, prior and informed consent. As such they have urged the Colombian government to stop the construction activities and carry out the consultation process.
Interesting facts & key figures
- The Amacayacu National Park was created in 1975. It comprises 4,220 square kilometres of the Colombian Trapezium, the only part of Colombian territory with access to the Amazon river. In 1928, Colombia and Peru signed the Lozano-Salomon treaty which gave Colombia this land so it could gain access to the river.
- 10% of the National Park overlaps with indigenous territories (resguardos indígenas) including Buenos Aires, San Martín de Amacayacu, Palmeras and Mocagua, and it borders the territories of Macedonia, El Vergel y Zaragoza. All are Tikuna territories, with lower numbers of Yaguas y Cocamas also living in this area.
- The Tikuna live in Brazil, Peru and Colombia and represent the most numerous indigenous group in the Colombian Trapezium. There are between 6,600 and 8,000 Tikuna in Colombia. San Martín de Amacayacu has a population of around 500.
- In April 2015 the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, through the National Tourism Fund, signed a Cooperation Agreement to carry out the construction of a tourist trail, in the municipality of Puerto Nariño, Amazonas, investing over 5,900 million colombian pesos. This would include the construction of pedestrian bridges and wooden steps, pathways and covered walkways, signage, toilet blocks, a shop, jetty and three viewpoints along an 8km route, passing through communities and along rivers.
- Huffington Post (2015) The Forgotten History Of ‘Violent Displacement’ That Helped Create The National Parks http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/national-park-service-anniversary-indigenous-people_us_55dcdd7ce4b0a40aa3ac9998
- Maria Clara van der Hammen (2003) The Indigenous Resguardos of Colombia: their contribution to conservation and sustainable forest use https://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/the_indigenous_resguardos_of_colombia.pdf
- Ungar & Strand (2012) Inclusive Protected Area Management in the Amazon: The Importance of Social Networks over Ecological Knowledge. Sustainability http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/4/12/3260