The “Women Environmental and Human Rights Defenders” series is a Magazine Libera segment where women defending nature and the environment discuss their work, vision, and provide economic, social, political, and cultural analysis to the current environmental issues affecting their countries. Topics covered include ecofeminism, land defenders, indigenous rights, biodiversity conservation, destructive environmental policies, and resistance to extractive economies.
GUEST SPEAKER – Aida Gamboa is the Amazon program coordinator at Rights, Environment and Natural Resources (DAR) in Peru. She also is a political scientist and has a Master in Political Science and Government from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP). She is the author of various publications and academic opinion articles and has extensive knowledge in public policies, rights of indigenous peoples, governance, environmental management and relations with civil society and the private sector. Moreover, she has participated in international spaces such as the Open Government Partnership (OGP), the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), and the process of negotiation, signing and ratification of the Escazú Agreement.
In this interview, Aida examines the different environmental problems that the Peruvian Amazon is currently facing, including gold mining and large and small-scale agriculture—the latter being one of the main drivers of deforestation in the Madre de Dios and Loreto regions. The situation is extremely worrying, according to Aida. Indigenous peoples, who are the most affected by logging, illegal mining and the entry of settlers, are receiving constant death threats, and are being persecuted and killed. There has been an increase in murders during the pandemic. Last year five indigenous defenders were murdered, and this year two indigineous leaders from the Ucayali region have also been assassinated only because they defended their territories from illegal actors and drug traffickers.