Walter Castañeda Bustamante
Le 15 septembre 2015, les défenseurs des droits humains Cesar Estrada Chuquilin et Walter Castañeda Bustamante ont été victimes d'une tentative d'assassinat alors qu'il rentraient de la province de Celedin, après avoir participé à une visite d'inspection de la lagune Conga, dans le nord du pays. Les défenseurs s'y étaient rendus pour s'assurer que le projet minier Conga n'avait pas commencé ses opérations dans les lacs, car la compagnie n'a pas obtenu de licence pour opérer dans la région.
Walter Castañeda Bustamante est un représentant rondero dans la province de Celedin, et président de la Comisión Ordinaria de Comunidades Campesinas, Nativas y Rondas Campesina (commission ordinaire des communautés rurales, natives et patrouilles campesinas). Il dénonce vivement les violations des droits humains perpétrées par Yanacocha, l'entreprise qui dirige le projet minier Conga; la Commission interaméricaine des droits humains (CIDH) lui a accordé des mesures de précaution en 2014 compte tenu des menaces et des actes de harcèlement dont il est la cible dans le cadre de son travail en faveur des droits humains.
On 15 September 2015, an assassination attempt was made against human rights defenders Messrs Cesar Estrada Chuquilin and Walter Castañeda Bustamante, who were returning to the province of Celedín after participating in an inspection visit at the Conga Lagoons, in the north of the country. The human rights defenders went there to ensure that the Conga Mining Project had not begun operations in the lagoons, as the company has not obtained a licence to operate in the region.
Both Cesar Estrada Chuquilin and Walter Castañeda Bustamante have been strong voices in denouncing human rights abuses committed by Yanacocha – the company that leads the Conga Mining Project – in the region. Both were granted precautionary measures by the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) in 2014 in light of the pattern of threats and harassment which they experienced in their work to protect human rights.
On 15 September 2015, at approximately 3pm, the human rights defenders were ambushed by unidentified gunmen who fired shots and threw rocks at their car. The attack occurred as they were driving back to Celedín following an inspection visit accompanying the Guardians of the Lagoon at the Conga Lagoons, where they assessed the environmental impact of the mining project in the region. The Guardians of the Lagoon have been subject to judicial harassment regarding their opposition to the Conga Mining Project.
During the attack, the rear windshield of the vehicle was destroyed and a bullet lodged in the licence plate of the vehicle. This was fortunate as Cesar Estrada Chuquilin's wife, who was in the back seat of the vehicle, was in the direct line of fire, but escaped uninjured.
It is believed that the attack was carried out by employees of the mining company Yanacocha, following a pattern of ongoing persecution, intimidation and violence against those who oppose the Conga Mining Project. These acts of violence and harassment led to the IACHR's decision on 5 May 2014 to grant precautionary measures to 46 human rights defenders and leaders of the farming communities and the Rondas Campesinas of Cajamarca.
Cesar Estrada Chuquilin has suffered severe persecution and intimidation, having previously been a victim of defamation, harassment, threats, attacks and thefts as a result of his peaceful and legitimate human rights work. He has also been a victim of continuous judicial harassment, including fabricated charges of theft and financial irregularities which are pending against him, and the allegedly kidnap of a Yanacocha businesswoman.