UN warned about oil pipeline in Peru

October 14, 2010

Peru’s isolated Indians are highly vulnerable to diseases brought in by outsiders. © Survival

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Survival is warning the United Nations of massive oil operations in the northern Peruvian Amazon that could decimate uncontacted tribal people.

‘By permitting companies to operate in this region Peru’s government is flagrantly violating international law. Survival believes it very important to investigate this situation as soon as possible and for Peru’s government to prohibit the companies from working there. If that is not done, some of the world’s most vulnerable citizens could be wiped out,’ said a letter from Survival to the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Indigenous peoples, Prof. James Anaya.

One of the companies, Perenco, has recently admitted to transporting 50,000 tons of ‘material and consumables’ into this region, describing it as the equivalent of ‘seven Eiffel Towers.’ Perenco is awaiting approval from Peru’s Energy Ministry to build a pipeline that will cut across 207 kms of land and will affect the rainforest on either side for 500 metres.

The other companies are Repsol-YPF and ConocoPhillips, which have applied to cut 454 kms of seismic lines in their bid to find oil. According to scientists, this part of the Amazon is one of the most biodiverse places in South America.

Survival’s appeal to the UN comes as the Peruvian government attempts to expel a British environmentalist, Brother Paul McAuley, for speaking out against environmental and human rights abuses in northern Peru.

Survival director, Stephen Corry, said today, ‘This is as serious as it gets for Indigenous people anywhere in the world. Massive oil operations are planned which will destroy the rainforest and could decimate two tribes.’

Uncontacted Tribes of Peru