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Olivia Arévalo

HRD & spiritual leader
Shipibo Konibo People

Olivia Arévalo Lomas was the spiritual leader of the Shipibo Konibo indigenous peoples. A wise indigenous woman, Olivia Arevalo was also responsible of the traditional knowledge of this ethnic group, as well as an active defender of the cultural and environmental rights of her people. She was also known for cultivating traditional medicine and the sacred songs of her people (Íkaros), which are a transversal element of their culture and expression of their harmonious relationship with nature. Shipibo Konibo are part of the Federation for Ucayali and Affluent Native Communities (Federación de Comunidades Nativas del Ucayali y Afluentes – FECONAU), one of the oldest indigenous federations of the Peruvian Amazon, which represents indigenous organisations of more than 30 native communities in the Ucayali region of the Peruvian Amazon. The federation advocates for the recognition of indigenous communities’ rights and preservation of their ancestral territories.

While many human rights defenders (HRDs) can operate freely in Peru, those working on the environment, in particular on the environmental and human rights impact of the extractive industry, face harsh repression, including intimidation, smear campaigns, death threats, surveillance, and judicial harassment. Journalists and trade unionists have also been targeted.