LIMA, Peru, JUNE 11, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Peru’s bishops have agreed to work with the government in mediating the ongoing clashes in the Peruvian Amazon between indigenous communities and the police that took 35 lives last weekend.
Archbishop Héctor Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte of Trujillo, the president of Peru’s episcopal conference, announced Tuesday that Prime Minister Yehude Simons had paid a visit to episcopal conference headquarters to ask his participation in a commission that will work toward a solution to the conflict.
The clashes began in April as Peru’s legislature began to issue a series of six decrees that ease restrictions on mining, oil drilling and farming in the Peruvian Amazon, which indigenous communities see as a threat to their livelihood.
Sixty-five communities who live in the jungle have been protesting since April.
Peru’s legislature voted Wednesday to suspend the decree on lumber harvesting for 90 days, with the hopes that the government can negotiate a deal with the protestors within three months.
A press statement released after the prime minister’s visit to conference headquarters said the meeting sought ways to achieve “reconciliation and the restitution of social peace.”
The statement reported that Archbishop Cabrejos invited everyone to “work for peace and avoid any type of violence.”
“We are all Peruvians and so we should all work toward reconciliation,” he said. “We invite all to be calm, serene. We think in terms of Peru, we don’t think in terms of groups, or certain people; we think in terms of the country. We are all Peruvians and this is something important to keep in mind.
The archbishop added that the Church is open to collaborate in anything that will contribute to the common good: “I think the visit of the prime minister is an important step to initiate dialogue, for a solution to conflict.”