By Martin Villena & Daniela Higa
14:11 | Madrid (Spain), Jul. 5.
Leader of Peru's Ashaninka indigenous people, Ruth Buendia, was handed over the Bartolome de las Casas Prize from the Government of Spain.
Granted in 2014
, the award honors her significant contribution to human and sustainable development, as well as her environmental protection work.
On Tuesday, King Felipe VI of Spain
presented the 23rd Bartolome de las
Casas Award to Ruth Buendia, for her leadership skills as chairwoman of the Central Ashaninka del Rio Ene (CARE), a local organization that gathers 17 indigenous communities and works to defend the rights of the Ashaninka people in the Ene River Valley.
The jury acknowledged Buendia's efforts to provide access to public health and education services across the communities.
Also, she managed to stop the construction of the Patizipatango hydroelectric dam, which prevented arable lands of 10 communities from being flooded.
In 2014, Buendia received the Goldman Environmental Prize
, dubbed the Green Nobel Prize, which recognizes individuals for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk.
The Bartolome de las Casas Award was also granted to Colombia's Fundacion Caminos de Identidad —FUCAI (Roads to Identity Foundation) for its constant work strengthening identity and autonomy of indigenous peoples in different fields: education, food sovereignty, family, childhood and youth.
The Bartolome de las Casas Prize was established in 1991 to recognize outstanding contributions and leadership in promoting rights and values of indigenous peoples.
The award was named after Fray Bartolome de las Casas, as he became noted for his defense of native peoples' rights.
The Spanish monarch was joined by Spain's Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Minister Alfonso Maria Dastis Quecedo, Secretary of State for International Cooperation and for Ibero-America Fernando Garcia Casas, and Peru's Justice and Human Rights Minister Maria Soledad Perez Tello, among others.