After a 19-year process, uncontacted and recently contacted Indigenous peoples living in the Napo-Tigre region of the Peruvian Amazon have had their existence officially recognized. With an extensive anthropological study and a presidential decree supporting evidence of their presence in the area, the communities are now one step closer to being protected through the creation of the Napo-Tigre Indigenous reserve in the Loreto department. “We are claiming the rights of those who cannot speak,” said Apu Pablo Chota, executive council secretary of the Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the East (ORPIO). The organization has been pushing for the creation of the reserve since 2003. “[What’s] important for us is to defend life more than anything else.” The Indigenous reserve would protect the five isolated communities confirmed in the region by preventing entrance from outsiders, thus limiting the possibility of spreading diseases. The reserve would mean no settlements could be created in the area nor any natural resources extracted, whether lumber or petroleum – unless it’s declared a national priority. Nevertheless, a group of businessmen, regional government officials and a petroleum company, Perenco, are opposing the creation of the reserve and taking action to halt its creation. According to the group, it will be an obstacle to ongoing and future development in the oil-rich region. “Perenco takes pride in having played its part in successfully developing [oil] block 67, a project declared of national importance by the Peruvian government and which forms part of the country’s strategic goal of achieving energy independence,”…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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