Oil companies in ‘farcical’ megaphone plan for uncontacted tribes

September 17, 2007

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Two companies planning to explore for oil in rainforest inhabited by uncontacted tribes have revealed plans to ‘communicate’ with them using megaphones if their oil crews are attacked.

The plans have been labelled ‘farcical’ by Peru’s national Indian organisation, AIDESEP.

No one knows the languages the Indians speak, and they are likely to view oil crews as hostile intruders. In the past oil company workers in the Amazon region have been killed by isolated Indians.

Despite this critical risk to their own workers, and the equal danger of spreading fatal diseases to the Indians, the companies, Barrett Resources of the US and Repsol YPF of Spain, have refused to suspend their plans.

Amongst the phrases Barrett’s workers are expected to say to their potential attackers are, ‘How many days (moons or suns) have you walked for?’, ‘We are people just like you’, ‘Is something disturbing you?’ and ‘We haven’t come here to look for women, we have our own women in our own village.’

Survival’s Director, Stephen Corry, said today, ‘Do Repsol and Barrett think that by shouting at the uncontacted Indians through megaphones it will be any easier for them to understand? These tribes have a well-founded fear of outsiders, and are highly likely to attack the oil crews who enter their territory. Perhaps what is most disturbing of all is how both companies, in certain situations, actually recommend entering into contact with the tribes.’

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

Uncontacted Tribes of Peru