Jorge, Murunahua man. Contrary to Brack's statements, the Peruvian government is permitting oil company Petrobras to explore for oil in the uncontacted Murunahua's reserve.
Jorge, Murunahua man. Contrary to Brack’s statements, the Peruvian government is permitting oil company Petrobras to explore for oil in the uncontacted Murunahua’s reserve.
© Survival

Reported comments by Peru’s Minister of the Environment about uncontacted tribes in the Amazon have led to accusations he is ‘completely mistaken’ about the reality of their plight.

The minister, Antonio Brack, was reported on RPP radio’s website as saying that companies cannot enter uncontacted Indians’ reserves. This is not true. Brazilian company Petrobras has signed a contract to work in the Murunahua Reserve, and a consortium led by Pluspetrol work in the Kugapakori-Nahua Reserve – the controversial Camisea Project.

‘Where it has been demonstrated that there are uncontacted tribes, the state has created reserves which companies cannot enter and which amount to almost five million hectares,’ Mr Brack was reported to have said.

Mr Brack’s comments were made in response to the news that the Anglo-French company Perenco is poised to send more than 1,000 workers into parts of the northern Peruvian Amazon inhabited by uncontacted Indians. Mr Brack, who was reported as questioning the existence of tribes in the area, appears to be unaware that INDEPA, the government department responsible for indigenous issues, has already confirmed that isolated Indians live there.

The Environment Minister also appears to be unaware that Peruvian law explicitly permits exploration in uncontacted tribes’ reserves.

Survival’s director, Stephen Corry, said today, ‘Mr Brack is completely mistaken about companies working in these tribes’ reserves, mistaken about lack of proof of their existence, and he’s even mistaken about the number of hectares their reserves amount to – almost three million, not five.’