IACHR ? Uncontacted tribes must be protected

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has urged the Peruvian government to protect some of the world’s last uncontacted Indian tribes.

Little is known about the tribes except for their obvious desire to have no contact with the outside world. One of the tribes is known as the Mashco-Piro, who are estimated to number around 600 people.

The Indians’ land has been invaded by illegal loggers exploiting some of the world’s last commercially-viable mahogany reserves. 90% of the timber is exported to the USA.

The Indians are especially vulnerable to any form of contact because of their lack of immunity to outsiders’ diseases. After members of the Murunahua tribe were first contacted by loggers in 1996, more than 50% of them died.

The IACHR urged the Peruvian government to ‘adopt the necessary measures to guarantee the lives and personal integrity of members of the Mashco-Piro, Yora and Amahuaca tribes living in voluntary isolation in the Madre de Dios department. In particular, to adopt the intended measures to safeguard against the immediate or irreparable dangers resulting from the activities of outsiders in their territories.’

Survival’s Director, Stephen Corry, said today, ‘This is a real wake-up call for the Peruvian government. That Latin America’s leading human rights body has issued this call is an important step for the uncontacted tribes, and we urge Peru to do all it can to protect them.’

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