© Marek Wolodzko/AIDESEP
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A giant Anglo-French oil project in Peru’s Amazon is at risk after the country’s Indians launched a court bid to stop it.
AIDESEP, the umbrella organisation of Peru’s Amazon Indians, has lodged an urgent appeal with the country’s Constitutional Tribunal to halt the project, in a part of the Peruvian Amazon known as ‘Block 67’.
The project is owned by Anglo-French company Perenco, who have promised to invest $2billion in the find. But AIDESEP fears that the project could have catastrophic consequences for the uncontacted tribes living in the area.
Spanish company Repsol-YPF is also covered by the application – it is exploring nearby.
Perenco was given the green light to start work in Block 67 just thirteen days after the ‘Amazon’s Tiananmen’, when armed police violently broke up an Indigenous protest near the town of Bagua. More than thirty policemen and civilians were killed.
Perenco, chaired by Oxford University graduate Francois Perrodo, denies the uncontacted tribes exist inside Block 67. A recent exposé in a British newspaper alleged that a company contracted by Perenco withheld evidence of their existence.
Perenco’s project has aroused huge anger amongst Indian communities in northern Peru. Largescale protests have been held, and the River Napo was blockaded for several weeks to stop Perenco’s boats from entering Block 67.
Survival director, Stephen Corry, said today, ‘How shameful that Peru’s Indians are having to resort to the courts to try to get Perenco and the government to listen to them. After the Bagua tragedy, the authorities promised to consult with Indigenous people before pushing ahead with these massive projects, but yet again they’re simply ploughing on against local people’s wishes.’