Historic double triumph for Indians over oil companies

November 2, 2006

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A Chinese oil company, SAPET, exploring in the southeast Peruvian Amazon has announced it will not enter territory inhabited by isolated Indians.

The Indians are believed to number around 600 people and to be part of the Piro tribe, but very little else is known about them. Because of their isolation from outside society, they remain very vulnerable to diseases, and contact can be fatal.

The news comes as Achuar Indians in the north Peruvian Amazon have won a landmark victory against an Argentine oil company, PlusPetrol, after a blockade lasting almost two weeks.

More than 800 Achuar blockaded PlusPetrol’s oil facility, the largest in Peru, in protest against environmental damage to their land caused by oil production. After an agreement was reached between the company and the Indians, including promises of improved environmental performance, oil production royalties for the Indians, and the acknowledgement that they oppose oil production on their land, the blockade was called off.

Survival’s Director, Stephen Corry, said today, ‘This is an important victory for tribal people. Public opinion won’t stand any longer for companies riding rough-shod over their rights. It’s good to see that even oil companies operating in remote areas are recognising this.’

For further information contact Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]