Ruth Buendía, leader of Peru’s Asháninka indigenous people, was granted on Tuesday the Bartolome de las Casas Prize, given by the Spanish Foreign Ministry’s Secretary of State for International Cooperation and for Ibero-America together with Casa de America.
Members of the jury praised Buendia for her leadership skills as chairwoman of the Central Ashaninka del Rio Ene (CARE), local organization that gathers 17 indigenous communities and works to defend the rights of the Ashaninka people in this region, according to El Comercio daily.
CARE managed to stop the construction of the Pakitzapango hydroelectric dam, which prevented arable lands of 10 communities from being flooded.
Furthermore, the jury also acknowledged Buendia’s contribution towards human and sustainable development, as well as her effort to provide access to public health and education services across the communities.
The Bartolome de las Casas award was established in 1991 to recognize outstanding contributions and leadership in promoting rights and values of indigenous peoples.
The award was named after Spanish colonial priest Fray Bartolome de las Casas, as he became noted for his defense of the native people’s rights.