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Inter-American Commission warns Peru over uncontacted tribes

November 21, 2013
tags:#Peru, #Survival International
org:Survival International
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Americas’ top human rights watchdog, has expressed grave concern over the threats to Peru’s uncontacted tribes from oil and gas companies, logging and the invasion of their lands which could ‘result in the death of entire peoples.’

Plans by the Peruvian government to expand the controversial Camisea gas project, which lies within the Nahua-Nanti Reserve for uncontacted tribes in Peru’s southeastern Amazon, puts the Indians at high risk of contact with gas workers. Uncontacted tribeshave little or no immunity to imported diseases and first contact could kill them.

The IACHR said in a statement, ‘Given that uncontacted tribes do not have immunity against common diseases, contact can lead (…) to epidemics that can result in the death of entire peoples. It is essential to uphold the principle of no contact in order to ensure their fundamental rights are upheld, including the right to life and integrity, the right to their lands and ancestral territories, and the right to culture and health.’

The Camisea gas project is run by a consortium of companies led by Argentina’s Pluspetrol, US’s Hunt Oil and Spain’s Repsol. Plans to expand the project would lead to thousands of explosives being detonated in an area that is famed for its bio-diversity.

In March 2013, the United Nations called for the ‘immediate suspension’ of Camisea following letters from Survival, andworldwide protests in April 2013 called on Peru to end the deadly expansion of the project. Over 120,000 supporters of Survival International have urged Peru’s President to stop outsiders and companies from invading the land of uncontacted tribes.

Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘If Camisea is allowed to expand, it could drive these uncontacted peoples to extinction: ’development’ projects like this always unleash a tide of death, disease and destruction on the area’s rightful landowners. Peru is risking Indian lives for foreign profits – the illegal gas grab must stop now.’