NEWS: Peru & Brazil’s Indigenous people join forces to combat “Genocide Bill”

June 13, 2023

A Nanti woman and child. The Nanti were just one of many uncontacted and recently-contacted peoples whose survival was threatened by the bill. © Survival

An Indigenous delegation from Brazil has flown to Peru to join forces with Indigenous organizations there in a desperate bid to stop a Congressional bill known as the “Genocide Bill.”

The bill, being pushed by Congressional allies of Peru’s oil and gas industry, would:

- Make it possible to revoke the official recognition of any uncontacted tribe’s existence.
- Make it possible to revoke already-established Indigenous reserves for uncontacted and recently-contacted tribes (who are collectively known in Peru by the acronym PIACI).
- Open the territories of uncontacted tribes to oil and gas drilling, logging and mining.
- Block the creation of desperately-needed reserves for uncontacted tribes whose territories currently have no protection.

A key Congressional committee, the “Decentralization Committee,” is due to debate the bill on Wednesday June 14. Indigenous organizations fear that if the Committee votes in favor of the bill, a full vote in Peru’s Congress could happen shortly after.

A delegation from UNIVAJA, the organization of Indigenous peoples of the Javari Valley in Brazil, is now in Peru to lend support to Indigenous efforts to stop the bill. They will join AIDESEP and ORPIO in a joint meeting in Congress today. The Javari Valley contains more uncontacted tribes than anywhere else on Earth, and many are related to other uncontacted tribes across the border in Peru, who would be devastated if the bill is passed.

Caption: Shipibo people protest in the Amazonian town of Contamana against the Genocide Bill. © ORAU

The bill has generated enormous worldwide concern. More than 10,000 people have sent protest emails to the Peruvian authorities, while the Ambassadors of Britain, Canada and Germany have written a joint letter to the Committee expressing serious concerns at the bill’s consequences for uncontacted Indigenous peoples and Amazon deforestation.

Tito Sajami Andrade from Indigenous organization FECONAPRE (Federation of Native Communities of Requena province) (Federación de Comunidades Nativas de la provincia de Requena) said: “We’re here for our uncontacted relatives… They need protection [from] the evil idea of a pro-Fujimori congressman who’s trying to belittle and violate the rights of our uncontacted brothers and sisters. It’s intolerable that people are trying to attack the rights that we’ve fought for for years – they’re people who just want to get rich, so now deny the uncontacted tribes’ existence. 

“The Indigenous peoples of the Peruvian Amazon are standing up. Our uncontacted relatives exist and need our support.” 

Teresa Mayo of Survival International said today: “The Genocide Bill is the most serious attack on Peru’s uncontacted tribes in decades. All the rights and protections that Peru’s Indigenous people and their allies have fought so hard for, over many years, are now at risk of being extinguished with a stroke of the pen. 

“These rights are under attack in Brazil too, which is why Indigenous people have joined hands across the Peru-Brazil border to fight these genocidal plans. It’s a moment of desperate danger – the very survival of dozens of uncontacted tribes is now at risk.”

Uncontacted Tribes of Peru