Peru: End Gas Exploration on Protected Lands of Uncontacted Amazon Tribes

  • by: Susan V
  • target: Peru Mines and Energy Ministry

An alarming majority of Amazon’s Nahua people died after their first contact with outsiders soon after Shell Oil discovered the gas fields on their remote reserve in 1984. Despite such devastating risks to indigenous tribes, Peru still plans to go forward with the country's biggest natural gas project ever.

In April, Peru's Mines and Energy Ministry gave PetroPeru the green light to allow the Camisea consortium to conduct seismic testing and drill exploration wells into territory that is supposed to be set aside for isolated, uncontacted Amazon tribes.

Even before 2004, when Camisea first became operational - and ever since - indigenous and environmental groups have fought this expansion. Last year Peru’s largest indigenous federation filed a lawsuit against the Peruvian state over its threats to the very existence of the area‘s uncontacted tribes.

In violation of a 2003 Decree and in spite of widespread opposition to gas expansion, including from the UN, recently exposed secret government plans show an intent to proceed even further into protected lands. This move could cut the Nahua-Nanti Reserve in half and put the lives of indigenous people in imminent danger.

These plans amount to genocide and ethnocide and must be stopped!

We the undersigned, are vehemently opposed to the expansion of gas exploration on protected lands of isolated Amazon tribes.

According to Survival International’s discovery of new secret plans for the Peru’s first state-owned oil block, if confirmed, the chosen location “will cut the Nahua-Nanti Reserve in half,“ and put lives of uncontacted tribes’ in “immediate danger.” SI says the new plans are a “clear violation” of a 2003 “supreme Decree” that prohibits “new development” within the Nahua-Nanti Reserve.

Peru’s indigenous organization FENAMAD is convinced that reports of these plans are legitimate and says the “government is attempting to cut up indigenous territories for gas exploration…which will be reflected in the genocide and ethnocide of indigenous peoples.”

“It’s astonishing” says Survival’s director Stephen Corry, that the government would “contemplate” repeating what happened after earlier gas exploration in the area ended up decimating these tribes. But, Corry adds, the government “doesn’t appear to care what the consequences are.”

UN special rapporteur James Anaya insists that an“exhaustive study” must be done before any action is taken, and no expansion should proceed that would in any way violate the human rights of the area’s uncontacted tribes.  
These people are in no position, by their very definition, to fend for themselves against these corporate and government threats.
Anthropologist Conrad Feather says "these peoples, and not the Peruvian government or an oil and gas company, should be determining their own future.”

We request an immediate end to the plans for gas exploration or location on protected lands of isolated Amazon tribes.

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