Peru Defies UN Breakthrough on Uncontacted Tribes

Peru’s government is ignoring new UN guidelines on the protection of uncontacted Indigenous peoples in the Amazon.

Instead of backing the UN’s landmark report, which supports the tribes’ right to be left alone, Peru is allowing the country’s largest gas project to expand further into indigenous territories known to house numerous uncontacted Indigenous peoples.

The new UN guidance makes clear that uncontacted tribes’ land should be untouchable, and that ‘no rights should be granted that involve the use of natural resources’.

The expansion plan adds to existing controversies around Argentine gas giant Pluspetrol and its notorious Camisea project in southeast Peru.

Past oil and gas exploration in Peru has resulted in violent and disastrous contact with isolated Indigenous peoples.

In the early 1980s, Shell workers opened up paths into the uncontacted Nahua’s land. Diseases soon wiped out half the tribe.

One surviving Nahua who lives close to Camisea’s developments said, ‘The company should not be here. All the time we hear helicopters. Our animals have left, there are no fish. For this, I don’t want the company. No! No company.’

Despite an electoral campaign that promised to respect indigenous rights, Peru’s President Ollanta Humala has done little to guarantee the survival of Indigenous peoples.

The Camisea consortium includes US-based Hunt Oil and Spain’s Repsol. Both have been accused of violating tribal peoples’ rights

Survival International, founded in 1969 after an article by Norman Lewis in the UK's Sunday Times highlighted the massacres, land thefts and genocide taking place in Brazilian Amazonia, is the only international organization supporting tribal peoples worldwide. Contact Survival International at: Read other articles by Survival International, or visit Survival International's website.