The International Indigenous Committee for the Protection of Peoples in Isolation and in Initial Contact of the Amazon, the Gran Chaco and Paraguays Oriental Region (CIPIACI) accuses REPSOL YPF of threatening the lives of «two of the planet´s last indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation», based on a report from Survival International.
The report «39 things Repsol doesn´t want you to know» states how the multinacional of Spanish-Argentinian origin, REPSOL-YPF, which holds a concession for the exploration of hydrocarbons in Block 39 in the northern Peruvian rainforest, continues to ignore the isolated indigenous peoples despite numerous evidences and testimonials found in the area that demonstrate their existence.
The indigenous organisations ORPIO and AIDESEP, the Ministry of Health, the governmental institute for indigenous peoples in Peru, INDEPA; the Ecuatorian Government, neighbour in the northern frontier, as well as REPSOL-YPF itself in the year 2003, have recognized the existence of isolated indigenous peoples in Lot 39. In the Act of 13th of August, the company commited to developing an emergency plan in case of contact between company workers and isolated indigenous peoples.
«The company and the Peruvian state will be held responsible for the possible loss of lives of our brothers who live naturally in the forests as autonomous peoples. The entering of outsiders into their environment carries a serious risk because of the tremendous vulnerability of the isolated groups due to their lack of an immunological system to fight deseases like the flu», Jaime Corisepa, General Coordinator of CIPIACI, pointed out.
The groups that could be affected by the operations of REPSOL YPF are possibly Pananujuri, Taromenane and Taushiro, although there is still a lack of information regarding the identity of the isolated indigenous peoples in the area.
In addition, CIPIACI alerts that the company REPSOL-YPF is putting in danger the lives of its´ employees, due to the fact that the isolated indigenous peoples probably will consider them as hostile invaders. It has happened several times in the Amazon that groups of isolated indigenous peoples have killed workers of oil companies or other non-indigenous people.
Corisepa talked about another case in Madre de Dios: The Chinese multinational SAPET excluded the Territorial Reserve for Isolated Indigenous Peoples of Madre de Dios from the Lot 111, leaving untouched the territory where numerous investigations and testimonials demonstrated the existence of these inhabitants. Corisepa urges REPSOL YPF to choose the same path in order to secure the lives of the isolated peoples, maybe the most vulnerable peoples on the planet.
In a large part of the area which is today Lot 39, some years ago it was suggested to create a Territorial Reserve for Isolated Indigenous Peoples, but this has been slowed down by INDEPA (the Peruvian State), violating national and international law.
REPSOL YPF and the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve
REPSOL YPF is also working in the lot 76 in Madre de Dios together with the US company Hunt Oil. This territory consists of almost half a million hectares, and it covers almost the entire Amarakaeri Communal Reserve.
Many scientists consider that this reserve is at serious risk because of the intervention of the oil companies. The area is very sensitive as it is located between Manu National Park and Tambopata National Park – Candamo, one of the biologically richest areas of the biosphere.
The direct beneficiary indigenous peoples of the reserve fear that the contamination that might be generated in the headwaters of the rivers, will reach their communities and affect the quality of the water that supports life along the river.
«This company demonstrates that it is not transparent in its actions. Therefore, we, the indigenous peoples fear that a disaster might occur in the native communities of Madre de Dios» said Jaime Corisepa, also president of the Native Federation of the Madre de Dios River and Tributaries, FENAMAD.
Despite the opposition of the indigenous peoples, REPSOL YPF and Hunt Oil have gone through with the seismic exploration D2, on the basis of a Master Plan that was manipulated in favor of the companies, without consulting or obtaining the Free Prior and Informed Consent.
«We reject that the companies REPSOL YPF and Hunt Oil now intend to carry out the approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment for eight exploration wells and 3D seismic, without the prior monitoring and evaluation by the authorities of the conditions of the intervened area», Corisepa said.
«It is urgent that the citizens of the world reflect upon whether or not we need hydrocarbon exploitation in the Amazon, considering the great risk that these activities cause in areas with high biological and cultural diversity, all of this in times in which it is highly necessesary to reduce the use of fossil fuels in order to reduce climate change».