Oil company 'won't drill on isolated Indians' land'

An oil company exploring for oil in the Peruvian Amazon has announced that it will not enter the territory of isolated Indians, even though the land was inside its concession.

The Chinese company SAPET was awarded the concession, known as Lot 113, in November 2005.

Lot 113 was super-imposed over an existing reserve for uncontacted Indians. After pressure from local Indian organisations, SAPET asked for the boundary of Lot 113 to be modified to exclude the uncontacted Indians' reserve. The Peruvian government has now complied with this request.

This kind of action by an oil company, whilst still rare, would have been unthinkable even ten years ago, and shows how local and international campaigns have forced the rights of tribal peoples into the forefront of multinational firms' thinking.