South American Indians demand ‘respect’ for uncontacted tribes

Uncontacted Indians in Brazil, not far from the border with Peru.
Uncontacted Indians in Brazil, not far from the border with Peru.
© G. Miranda/FUNAI/Survival

An indigenous federation that defends uncontacted tribes across South America has demanded that Peru’s government respects the rights and lives of uncontacted Indians living in the remote Peruvian rainforest.

The demand comes after unique photos of an uncontacted tribe living in Brazil, near the Peruvian border, made world headlines. Other tribes in the region are believed to be at risk from uncontacted Indians from Peru fleeing into Brazil to escape illegal logging.

The demand was made by the International Indigenous Committee for the Protection of Uncontacted Tribes and those in Initial Contact in Amazonia, the Chaco and Eastern Paraguay (CIPIACI).

‘The movement of isolated tribes into Brazil seems to be the result of the constant aggression and threats they have been facing on their land in Peru,’ CIPIACI’s statement reads. ‘Effectively, this kind of displacement has been going on for the last few years because of the invasion of their territories, mainly by loggers or missionaries who follow them and want to contact and evangelise them.

‘We demand that the Peruvian government meets its responsibility to guarantee respect for the rights of uncontacted tribes by the legal recognition of their ancestral land, the removal and sanctioning of outsiders who have invaded their land and threaten their lives, and the adoption of effective measures to guarantee their physical, social and cultural integrity.’

In total, there are an estimated fifteen uncontacted tribes in Peru and all of them are threatened with extinction, mainly from illegal logging and oil exploration. They are exceedingly vulnerable to any form of contact because they have no immunity to outsiders’ diseases.

Survival's director Stephen Corry said today, ‘Peru’s uncontacted tribes could be the first people in the 21st century to be made extinct if the Peruvian government doesn’t act immediately. It needs to stop all the logging on the their land and ensure there is none in the future.’

For further information please contact Miriam Ross on (44) (0)20 7687 8734 or (44) (0)7504 543 367 or email [email protected]

Watch Survival's short film ‘Uncontacted Tribes’