Background briefing

Petrobras - Brazilian national oil firm

Brazilian state oil company Petrobras has a contract to explore for oil in the south-east of Peru in an area inhabited by the uncontacted Murunahua (or Chitonahua) tribe.

This is despite the fact that Brazilian government policy is not to make contact with uncontacted Indians.

The region where Petrobras is working covers most of a reserve created for the Murunahua in 1997. A loophole in Peruvian law says companies can work in these reserves.

Some Murunahua have already been contacted and an estimated 50% of them died as a result. This happened after illegal mahogany loggers invaded their land.

The number of uncontacted Murunahua is unclear. It is likely that there is at least one other uncontacted tribe in the region too.