Oil rush accelerates

March 27, 2009

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The head of Peru’s state oil company has announced that it will auction off up to twelve new ‘lots’ for oil and gas exploration, according to reports.

The announcement was made by Perupetro’s chairman, Daniel Saba, who has previously said that companies can even explore in reserves inhabited by uncontacted Indians. Survival has written to Mr Saba urging Perupetro not to include uncontacted Indians’ territories in any of the new lots.

Almost 75% of the Peruvian Amazon has already been opened up for exploration, the most of any Amazonian country. Some of this area – where companies such as Perenco, Repsol-YPF, Petrolifera, Pluspetrol and Petrobras are working – is inhabited by isolated Indians.

Mr Saba had previously said that the existence of uncontacted tribes is an ‘absurd’ idea, before later saying that Perupetro would try and contact them in order to ‘consult’ them. This was vigorously denounced by Peru’s Indigenous peoples’ organisation, AIDESEP.

Survival’s director, Stephen Corry, said today, ‘We strongly urge Mr Saba and Perupetro not to include any uncontacted tribes’ land in any of the new lots. Doing so breaks international law and violates the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples, and it could have catastophic consequences for the Indians who live there.’

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

Watch Survival's short film 'Uncontacted Tribes'

Uncontacted Tribes of Peru