Deep in the heart of Peru's rainforest live some of the planet's few remaining uncontacted tribesmen. But if oil executives have their way, these tribes' first introduction to the outside world will be a pipeline cutting through their native land. To make matters worse, the President of Peru claims such tribes are mere 'inventions', as he hopes to usher in foreign developers and revenue from big oil companies. So to offer a voice to these voiceless people, whose very existence has been called into question, one group has begun a campaign to save them from a threat they could likely not imagine.The ad was created by Survival International, an NGO committed to protecting the rights of tribal people throughout the world. With an extremely rare photograph of an uncontacted tribe, nestled on a riverbank in the forests of Peru, the ad features a quote from the nation's President Alan García, who denies they even exist.
'No one has seen them,' claims Peru's oil chief. 'They've been invented,' says Peru's president. Yet this photograph of an uncontacted tribe proves they exist. The government is giving over 70% of its Amazon forest to oil and gas exploration. It will destroy the tribes that live there.
According to Survival, plans for a pipeline cutting into the heart of Peru, and through the tribes' land, were unveiled by the European oil company, Perenco. The company intends to pump 300 million barrels of oil out of the region--a plan supported by President García, who hopes the deal will be a boon to the Peruvian economy.
Currently, several other oil companies are already encroaching on native tribal territories, threatening the livelihoods and self-determination of uncontacted peoples living there.
Stephen Corry, of Survival International:
Our aim is to draw the world's attention to what Peru's government is doing to its uncontacted tribes. We're also urging it to scrap plans to build a pipeline deep into the heart of their territory in the north of the country.
While the thirst for fossil fuel has led the modern world to grit and bear the often ugly and occasionally disastrous consequences of it, there's something particularly tragic about the human toll awaiting Peru's few uncontacted tribes from our quest for oil. After all, they may be the only ones left on the planet who have never needed it.