Since 2009, Accountability Counsel has been working to support the Shipibo indigenous communities of Canaán de Cachiyacu and Nuevo Sucre in the Peruvian Amazon in their struggle to hold Maple Energy plc and its investors accountable for the harmful impacts of Maple’s oil operations on their land. The communities suffered six oil spills from 2009-2011. There was a seventh spill on April 24, 2012.
Maple’s operations in and near the communities have led to severe human rights and environmental abuses, including use of forced labor in one of the villages to clean up an oil spill.
The company directed local men to wade in crude oil, sometimes up to their chests, and to use rags and their bare hands to clean it up, instead of providing them with proper training, equipment or protective gear. The spills have caused widespread contamination of the villages and health impacts that have resulted in sickness and death.
Accountability Counsel assisted the Shipibo communities with their complaint to the World Bank Group’s Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (“CAO”) in April 2010. The CAO is the accountability mechanism of the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (“IFC”). The IFC invested in Maple Energy in 2007, despite Maple’s lengthy record of contamination and abuse in the villages. Issues addressed in the compliant include health and environmental impacts from the spills, harm to food security, violations of worker’s rights, abuse of Shipibo women, discrimination against the Shipibo in hiring practices, Maple’s bad faith negotiations throughout their presence in the communities, and failure to disclose information or consult local communities about the project.
The communities have completed a dispute resolution process through the CAO’s Ombudsman and in May 2012 the CAO released its Compliance Appraisal Report, concluding that the case did not merit a full audit. Accountability Counsel believes that the Appraisal Report failed to address the egregious violations that continue to plague the communities of Canaán de Cachiyacu and Nuevo Sucre. Our detailed critique is coming soon.