Prelate Welcomes Advance in Peru Conflict

LIMA, Peru, JUNE 22, 2009 ( The president of the Peruvian episcopal conference welcomed signs of communication and collaboration between the government and indigenous populations in the Amazon.

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Archbishop Héctor Miguel Cabrejos of Trujillo is urging continued reconciliation, forgiveness and the correction of errors, saying, «What has happened in the jungle is a problem that Peruvians should resolve.»

The west South American nation recently endured nearly two months of conflict as thousands of Indians blocked the roads of eastern Peru. The indigenous groups were trying to force a repeal of laws passed to facilitate foreign investment and oil exploration, farming and logging in the Amazon. Some 60 tribes of Indians live in Peru’s section of the jungle.

The conflict resulted in the death of at least 30 people (both police and Indians) when the protests turned violent June 5.

The government last week proposed to Parliament to repeal decrees 1090 and 1064, acknowledging that the needs of the indigenous peoples had not been sufficiently considered in the legislation. Parliament is expected to approve the repeal Thursday.

Archbishop Cabrejos welcomed the capacity for dialogue shown by Prime Minister Yehude Simon.

The prelate himself was present when the administration offered its proposed repeal to Parliament. He had also participated in meetings between the administration and representatives of the indigenous peoples.

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