Government warned uncontacted tribes at 'great risk'

April 24, 2007

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Peru’s national Indigenous peoples’ organization has urged the Peruvian government to protect uncontacted tribes living in the most remote parts of the Peruvian Amazon.

Citing illegal mahogany logging and oil exploration as the two biggest threats, the Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Jungle (AIDESEP) warns the government that the lives and health of the uncontacted tribes are at ‘great risk.’

AIDESEP calls on the government to heed recent recommendations by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to ‘adopt the necessary measures to guarantee the lives and personal integrity’ of uncontacted tribes living in south-east Peru, where their territories have been invaded by illegal loggers.

AIDESEP also calls on the government to prohibit oil exploration in other areas throughout the country where uncontacted tribes live, urging it to call a halt to oil activities by Spanish company Repsol and US company Barrett Resources near the border with Ecuador. Barrett discovered oil there last year, making this the first major oil discovery in the Peruvian Amazon for more than 30 years. The area is home to at least two uncontacted tribes.

The uncontacted tribes are extremely vulnerable to any form of contact because they do not have immunity to outsiders’ diseases. After first contact in the mid-1980s following oil exploration on their land, more than 50% of the Nahua died.

Uncontacted Tribes of Peru