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Non-contacted tribe claim

Evidence can only be established when there is a coherent array of verified facts established through a scientific multi-disciplinary methodology.

Background information

Since at least 1995 when the Block 67 was awarded, there has been extensive human activity in the area of Block 67. Despite this, there has been no evidence of non-contacted tribes within Block 67.

A first extensive seismic survey was conducted in 1997. This involved a team of several hundreds of local employees walking the length and breadth of Block 67 over several months. It also involved extensive aerial coverage of the Block 67 area.

At that time the Block was eight times larger than it now is and today, Perenco's focus is on an areas less than 0.5% of the current reduced area of the block.

Whilst the closest community to Block 67 is located 30 km away (see B67 map of the region and B67 project influence area), communities living from between 30km and 60km from  the Block 67 are known to use the area in order to hunt, gather food and collect wood. Furthermore, the army also regularly patrols this region which is near the borders with Ecuador and Colombia.

Despite all this activity, no evidence of non-contacted tribes was reported in the Block 67 area.

Regulations

In Peru oil and gas activities are today strictly regulated by the Hydrocarbon Law. This regulatory regime controls all aspects of oil and gas activities, in order to limit socio-environmental impacts. The regulation imposes the rules under which oil and gas activities have to be conducted in non-contacted.reserves. (see Peru useful links).

Multi-disciplinary study

Upon acquiring the rights to explore and develop Block 67 early in 2008, Perenco commissioned a comprehensive study to establish the possibility of indigenous human activity in the area. The study involved a panel of 24 experts from the following institutions:

  • Daimi, a consulting company with expertise in socio-environmental matters with considerable experience in this area in Peru and Ecuador
  • Indepa: the governmental body in charge of the protection of the indigenous population of Peru
  • The University of San Marcos in Lima
  • The Amazon University of Loreto in Iquitos.

The 4 institutions multi-disciplinary study concluded the following:

  • The field work conducted shows that there is no physical evidence of non-contacted tribes in the Block 67 area.
  • There is no indication of transhumance, which is a determining factor for the existence or non-existence of non-contacted indigenous populations.
  • There is no sign that shows the subsistence activities in the jungle of a non-contacted tribe (hunting tools, huts, corn fields...).

Aidesep claim

Aidesep, an NGO formed in the 1980s, did not oppose the oil and gas activities in Block 67 for an initial 12 year period. It does not oppose oil and gas activities in blocks overlapping several existing non-contacted tribe reserves.  In 2003 Aidesep presented a request for a non-contacted tribe reserve in the Block 67 area, the "Napo Tigre proposal".  In 2005 Aidesep produced a report called "Aidesep Expediente Tecnico (part I, part IIa, part IIb, part III )" for this request and in 2007 Aidesep presented a claim rejecting all oil and gas activities in Block 67.

Indepa rejection report

Indepa is the Governmental body in charge of the protection of indigenous populations. A special commission, led by Indepa was created in March 2009. The Commission is in charge of the evaluation of non-contacted tribes reserve proposals. The reserve proposal was dismissed by the Indepa technical report issued by the Commission on 24/06/09 on the grounds that no scientific evidence of the existence of non-contacted tribe in the area had been presented by Aidesep.

Courts verdicts

Perenco has won in two instances a claim presented by Aidesep to block all oil activities in their proposed Napo Tigre non-contacted tribe reserve. An extract of the verdict states: "evidence presented by Aidesep does not demonstrate the existence of indigenous tribe in voluntary isolation in the blocks 67 and 39."

Both verdicts declared the claim of Aidesep to be groundless (First instance verdict / Second instance verdict).

A similar claim was filed in June 2008 by Orpio, a subsidiary of Aidesep.  In this instance a public hearing was held in July 2009, which Orpio did not attend, nor did they request a different day to present their case to the Judge. In February 2010, the Superior Court dismissed the claim as void of grounds. Orpio has not appealed within the term granted by law, which means that they have accepted the sentence (see sentence attached).

Finally, in June 2010, in third and final instance, the Constitutional Court unanimously resolved to declare "...UNFOUNDED..." the claim filed by Aidesep given that "(...) the existence of  the community in voluntary isolation or uncontacted has not been demonstrated (...)".
(www.tc.gob.pe/jurisprudencia/2010/06316-2008-AA.html)

Additional information

On the subject of non-contacted tribes, an article published in the French newspaper "Liberation" sets out some further information on the issue. The respected Peruvian anthropologist, Carlos Mora, has produced notes on the Aidesep "Expediente Tecnico". (Carlos Mora part I / part II).

Finally, although there is no evidence of the existence of non-contacted tribe in the Block 67 area, and at the request of the authorities in charge of approving the Environmental Impact Studies, we are applying, through the incorporation of an Anthropological Contingency Plan,  precautionary measures similar to the ones used in different cases where, to the contrary of our case,  evidence of the existence of non-contacted tribes might have been accepted.

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