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South America: World Resource Institute analyses the threat posed by mining on indigenous peoples, indicating that many laws favour companies over communities

World Resource Institute

WRI report

"Undermining Rights: Indigenous Lands and Mining in the Amazon", October 2020

...Mining, the study...shows, is polluting at least 30 Amazonian rivers and eroding communities’ proven ability to prevent deforestation. From 2000 to 2015, Indigenous lands with mining activities had higher incidences of tree cover loss than those without mining. In Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru, for example, forest loss was at least three times higher in Indigenous territories with mining operations – both legal and illegal – than those without; and one to two times higher in Colombia and Venezuela...

Yet national laws often favor companies over Indigenous communities, the study’s comprehensive legal assessment of six Amazonian countries, including Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana and Peru, reveals. Although these countries all grant important legal protections to communities, these land rights are insufficient and leave most Indigenous Peoples vulnerable to mining. Government oversight of mining activities across Indigenous lands, enforcement of existing legal protections and compliance with international environmental and social safeguards also remain weak in practice, creating tensions between Indigenous communities and miners that often escalate into violent conflict...