23 Aug 2008

Peru to repeal land laws

4:29 pm on 23 August 2008

Peru's Congress has voted to repeal two land laws aimed at opening up Amazonian tribal areas to development, which had led to protests by indigenous groups.

Correspondents say the repeal of the laws is a blow to President Alan Garcia, who had approved the legislation by decree.

Mr Garcia had described the initiative as pivotal to the improvement of life in Peru's poorest regions.

A leading indigenous rights campaigner welcomed the repeal of the laws.

Alberto Pizango called it a new dawn for the country's indigenous peoples.

During the protests, which lasted more than 10 days, indigenous groups took several police officers hostage, and took control of both a major natural gas field in southern Peru and an oil pipeline.

Congress repealed the laws by 66 votes to 29.