Highway condemned because of uncontacted tribes

Arrows that once belonged to uncontacted Indians in south-east Peru.
Arrows that once belonged to uncontacted Indians in south-east Peru.
© FENAMAD

Plans for the construction of a highway in one of the most remote parts of the Peruvian Amazon have been rejected by a local indigenous organization because of the danger it poses to uncontacted tribes living there.

The proposed highway will run from the small Amazon town of Puerto Esperanza to Inapari on the Brazilian border, passing through territory inhabited by at least two uncontacted tribes.

The highway will ‘violate the rights of the uncontacted tribes. . . and threaten them with extinction,’ stated local indigenous organization FENAMAD. ‘It’s clear that the attempt to build the highway has one sole aim and that is to allow loggers to plunder the rainforest, as well as making it easier for other people who want to make contact with the uncontacted tribes.’

FENAMAD warned that if the highway was built the impact on the uncontacted tribes could see a repeat of the tragedy that engulfed the Nahua tribe in the mid-1980s. Following oil exploration on their land, more than 50% of the previously uncontacted Nahua died.

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