In March 2023, more than 400 representatives of Christian organizations signed a letter expressing their solidarity with the Indigenous communities defending human rights and democracy in Peru.
Dear brothers and sisters of our Aymara, Uro, Quechua and other peoples who have mobilized for justice and the right to elect in our country:
We are writing to express our solidarity with you and your struggle and to tell you that as Christians we recognize the great example you are setting for the whole country with your marches in defense of true democracy and human rights; you are exemplary citizens and we demand that you be respected as such.
We are Christian people and groups committed to the gospel of Jesus, of the beatitudes and the liberation of all that goes against human dignity and freedom; Christians from different churches. Christians must opt for the poor and marginalized and recognize that in them the presence of God is manifested in our Peruvian history today. We are not bishops, we are the People of God and we want to walk with you in the search for justice and recognition of the rights of your people.
As Christians we know that we must defend the cause of the people excluded from the system, the aspirations and struggles of the poorest and most marginalized of Peru, of those who have no drinking water, no health, no education, no healthy environment, due to irresponsible mining. We reject the mining concessions that want to be granted without respecting the right to prior consultation, eliminating their villages and agricultural lands and further contaminating the Pachamama.
We are indignant and weep at the death of so many sisters and brothers due to brutal repression that disqualifies those who now govern. It is the obligation of the State to guarantee the fundamental rights of citizens, civilians and military; it is not justified that police and military shoot bullets against people who do not represent an imminent danger to the life of someone; neither should they shoot buckshot to the chest or head, nor tear gas bombs at close range. These are violations of human rights for which those who order or allow them will have to answer.
We reject the militarization of Puno and the country; we are pained by the mistreatment and death of the Aymara volunteer soldiers by an army that has no care for their lives. We also regret the death of the burned policeman and the acts of uncontrolled violence of minority groups that served as a pretext for the authorities and the media to undermine the peaceful protests of the majority. We call for the withdrawal of the Armed Forces and the lifting of the state of emergency in the region.
We thank you and the different groups from the regions that have come to Lima. With great sacrifice you have given testimony of courage and citizen conscience for the right to political participation of our people. You have fought for your right to be heard and to be part of the decision making that happened to all of us, but especially to you.
We reject the suspicions, offensive insults, of terrorists and vandals, as biased, lying and slanderous. We congratulate you, rather, for your courage in peaceful mobilizations, bravely facing an extreme and unjustified repression, which violates fundamental rights. We denounce all this with energy and indignation.
We recognize your sacrifices to protest. We know that you are putting up your own money to protest, to travel, to come to Lima, etc. We recognize that it is a great effort by your communities, that you are not receiving funding from anyone and that you have self-convened.
That is why we recommend to all people of good will, democratic and supportive, to form a wide network of support for your demands.
THANK YOU FOR THE EXAMPLE YOU ARE SETTING AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO FIGHT ALONGSIDE YOU.
Translated from Spanish with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
Image: Protests in Lima, Peru, Dec. 12. 2022 by Mayimbú - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, available on Wikimedia Commons.