Alex Meyers

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To the indigenous people of Peru, a strong relationship exists between land and livelihood. They depend on their land for the food they eat, the water they drink, and the resources they use to build their shelter. It follows that a threat to their property rights also threatens their survival; this past year, they have proven that they are prepared to defend their property rights with their lives. This Note shows that between the legal systems of Peru, the Organization of American States (OAS), and the United Nations (UN), Peru’s indigenous people should pursue their claim against Peru’s government in the OAS. However, because the OAS lacks a mechanism to enforce its policy and must rely on political pressure, Peru’s indigenous people are still far from a complete remedy. Currently, Peruvian law (particularly the Peruvian Constitution), as well as law promulgated by the OAS and the UN, all contain express provisions that are designed to protect the property rights of indigenous communities. However, recent events in Peru have shown that the weight of these provisions has failed to exceed that of the paper they are written on, as their substance and overall policy has failed to achieve implementation.

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