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Marañon river keepers 'Defensores Ambientales del Río Marañón'

The Marañón River is one of the most important water sources in Peru and a key Amazon tributary.

The river runs through 10 distinct regions of Peru. Almost 14% of the Peruvian population lives in these regions, and they include Andean peasants, indigenous Amazon peoples, riparian populations, as well as urban communities. Hundreds of thousands of people depend on the Marañón River for their livelihood.
The Marañón is an area of unique biodiversity, with dry forests that extend along the upper river valley and its tributaries.
In late April 2011, former Peruvian President Alan Garcia declared that the construction of 20 dams on the Marañón River was “in the national interest.”
The harnessing of rivers on the headwaters of the Andean Amazon to provide electricity and secure irrigation for large agricultural enterprises would have a profound effect on the ecology of rivers in this area and their floodplains.

The criminalization of the Marañón River defenders started in 2014 as a consequence of mobilizations and public complaints where the communities claimed how they would be harmed by the hydroelectric project Chadin 2.

The formulation of this projects was developed without knowledge of the ecological importance of the river, and without consulting with local communities that would be affected.

'Ronderos' - the name given to peasant men and women that exercise justice in the territory.

EarthRights International defended a group of 'ronderos' who were being subject to criminal persecution and stigmatization for their rights to access to environmental information and freedom of expression and association.

Even though there was a favorable result in court towards the claims from Odebrecht, this took several years where the 'ronderos' received threats and suffered violence against them and their families.

The proposed dams, if they were built, would displace thousands of indigenous people, submerge forested lands, and impede the flow of sediment that nourishes ecosystems throughout the Amazon basin.
To win the case against a giant enterprise as odebrecht, a brazilian company that builds mega-projects and which has been involved in several corruption scandals, is an important accomplishment for defenders to continue their work for their rights and the protection of the environment.
The dams haven´t progressed much thanks to the efforts of the marañon river keepers. The 'ronderos' and people living through the river, standing for their rights and nature. the government must include communities in the formulation of these kinds of projects.

Credits:

1. cliff hellis; Rio Maranon; July 14, 2008; (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). 2. cliff hellis; Rio Maranon Sunset; July 14, 2008; (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). 3. Douglas Fernandes; Mapa vial del Perú (07); October 14, 2012; (CC BY 2.0). 4. Ministerio del Ambiente; Monitoreo ambiental en la cuenca del río Marañón; September 12, 2013; (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). 5. Ministerio del Ambiente; Monitoreo ambiental en la cuenca del río Marañón; September 23, 2013; (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).