Amazon nomads face 'imminent extinction'

August 13, 2008

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Colombia’s last nomadic hunter-gatherer tribe, the Nukak, is in ‘imminent danger of physical and cultural extinction’, according to the Permanent People’s Tribunal (PTT), which investigates and tries human rights violations around the world.

The Nukak were listed by the PTT along with another 27 Indigenous groups in Colombia, many of whom have less than 100 members.

‘Their disappearance from the face of the earth would constitute, in the 21st century, not only a disgrace for the Colombian state and for humanity as a whole, but genocide and a crime against humanity because of action or failure to act by the institutions of the state,’ said a PTT statement.

The PTT identified a ‘fundamental lack of recognition of Indigenous peoples’ identity and, as a result, the violation of all their rights, ultimately culminating in their right to exist as distinct peoples, with their own ways of living, their own customs, traditions and cosmovision.’

The PTT is an international non-governmental organisation set up in 1979 to carry on the work of the Russell Tribunal, which investigated war crimes in Vietnam, and human rights violations committed during dictatorships in Latin America.