Peruvian government denounced for failure to protect uncontacted tribes

By agency reporter
March 15, 2017

In an open letter to the Peruvian authorities, three organisations have denounced the failure of the country's government to protect uncontacted tribes.

The organisations, Survival International, Rainforest Foundation Norway and Peruvian indigenous organisation ORPIO are calling for the government to create an indigenous reserve, known as Yavari-Tapiche, for uncontacted tribes along the Peru-Brazil border, and to put a stop to outsiders entering the territory.

In the letter the three organisations state:

Uncontacted tribes are the most vulnerable peoples on the planet. They have made the decision to be isolated and this must be respected…

The Yavarí Tapiche region is home to uncontacted peoples. Despite knowing of their existence and enormous vulnerability, the government has failed to guarantee their protection…

These tribal peoples face catastrophe unless their land is protected. Only by creating the proposed Yavarí Tapiche indigenous reserve and implementing effective protection mechanisms that prevent the entry of outsiders, will the indigenous people be given the chance to determine their own futures…

We are also concerned about the government’s refusal to exclude oil exploration within the proposed reserve…. No exploration or exploitation of oil should ever be carried out on territories inhabited by uncontacted Indians…

We believe that the oil company Pacific Stratus is poised to begin operations this year in areas where there are uncontacted tribes…

By failing to both create the reserve and to rule out oil exploration, Peru is violating both domestic and international law…

If the government does not act urgently to protect the uncontacted peoples of Yavarí Tapiche, we fear that they will not survive. Another tribe will disappear from the face of the earth, before the eyes of the world.

Stephen Corry, Director of Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples' rights, said: “We’ve repeatedly called for the Yavarí-Tapiche indigenous reserve to be created and for oil exploration to be ruled out, but the government has dragged its feet. The lives of uncontacted Indians are on the line but once again, economic interests take priority.”

* Survival International http://www.survivalinternational.org/

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