New uncontacted tribes campaign launched worldwide

September 18, 2008

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Survival International has launched a new campaign to protect Peru’s uncontacted tribes from illegal loggers invading and destroying their land.

Survival has sent ‘Urgent Action Bulletins’ to thousands of people in 85 countries, explaining how logging has already led to the tragic contact of one uncontacted group, violent conflict, and some uncontacted Indians fleeing into Brazil.

The bulletins urge people to write to Peru’s President Garcia and the Minister of Agriculture, Ismael Benavides, asking them to recognise and respect the tribes’ land rights as agreed under international law.

Earlier this year Survival released the photos of an uncontacted tribe from Acre in Brazil, near the Peruvian border, believed to be under threat from other uncontacted Indians fleeing from Peru across the border to escape logging. The photos caused an international media frenzy and led the Peruvian government three months ago to promise to investigate the situation. To date, no report has been made public.

Peru is just one country around the world where there are uncontacted tribes – the others being Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, India, Paraguay, and West Papua in Indonesia. All of them face huge threats to their land and lives, and they remain exceedingly vulnerable to any form of contact because of their lack of immunity to outsiders’ diseases. After Murunahua Indians in south-east Peru were contacted for the first time, more than 50% of them died.

Survival’s Director, Stephen Corry, said today, ‘Public opinion is a world superpower. It needs to be harnessed to make it clear to the Peruvian government that international opinion will no longer stand for the deliberate destruction of Amazonian tribes – the most vulnerable peoples in the country.’

Uncontacted Tribes of Peru