#Human Rights
Ray Hunt/Hunt Oil

March 7, 2004

Just below the point where the Andes first begin to rise out of the Amazon Forest, the Urubamba River enters one of the most isolated places on earth.

This still un-exploited and largely un-charted region of Amazonia is partially protected by Manu National Park on its edge; past the far border of the national park and at the center of the forest is the Nahua-Kugapakori Indian Reservation. This land was granted by the Peruvian government to the thousands of indigenous people of that area.

Due to the inaccessability of the region, some of these people are still largely or even totally unaware of the outside world, that they are living on an Indian reservation, or that the country of Peru even exists. Also, due to the inaccessibility, stability, and natural-history of this area, the lower Urubamba river country has been proclaimed by numerous studies as the most biologically diverse on earth -- home to numerous ecosystem levels from lowland to cloud forests, rare black caimans, trees that -- according to legend -- walk on their roots, and the headwaters of the Amazon.

In the words of one study, the lower Urubamba is ¨the last place on earth¨ where anybody should be drilling for fossil fuels. Yet, inexplicably, in this heart of hearts of the Amazon Rainforest, the massive Camisea Gas Mega-Project is about to step in.

This project´s major corporate beneficiaries are White House connected Hunt Oil and Cheney subsidiary Halliburton Co.; both of these companies have terrifying, blundering environmental track records.

Their plan is to build platforms, roads and two pipelines from a huge concession in the middle of the forest and through the rugged Vilcabamba mountains, parts of which may have been untouched by human feet until explorers arrived in the 1960´s. 75 percent of Camisea platforms will likely be built in the Nahua-Kugapakori Reserve; this will not only disrupt the centuries-old ways of life of three or more nomadic tribes -- it also has historically meant, and is currently meaning, death for these people.

Though environmental impact reports have not been satisfactorily completed, construction in the lower Urubamba area is already well underway, with little or no supervision. Massive erosion is ensuing.

Environmental disruption has caused fish and wildlife to die off or disappear. This is not only a ripple of biological and ecological tragedy, it means isolated societies inside and outside of the reservation are now facing, possibly for the first time, that pre-imminent feature of our society - preventable chronic malnutrition.

At the same time, Camisea operatives are, for reasons of project productivity, actively and forcibly contacting uncontacted and voluntarily isolated tribes, in violation of the United Nations ILO Convention 169. This is ostensibly to sidestep the skirmishes which usually ensue in projects such as their´s, but the local peoples vulnerability is being actively -- and probably purposefully -- ignored.

However I, and we the undersigned, refuse to ignore the plight of these people and their land.

We are,

1) bearing in mind both the global and continent-wide environmental impact of pipe-line rupture, erosion, cultural degredation, and road building in the Urubamba.

2) bearing in mind that the Nahua tribe, first contacted in the 1980's during gas exploration in the region, lost nearly fifty-percent of its members to influenza and whooping cough epidemics in the few years following, and that now, as contact once again escalates in the latest stage of the project, stable, isolated or recently contacted tribes are once again being moved in upon by imported gastro-intestinal and respiratory diseases -- to which these Amazonian Indians still have no resistence.

We refuse to allow this project to continue -- it is not to late to stop it if we don´t give up!

We the undersigned,

1) absolutely discourage Hunt Oil from involvement in the Camisea Gas Project.

2) absolutely discourage Halliburton from involvement in the Camisea Gas Project.

3) oppose the continuation of the Camisea Gas Project, on grounds of its environmental unsoundness and human rights violation.

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The Defy the "most damaging project in the Amazon Basin" petition to Ray Hunt/Hunt Oil was written by Ari Berk and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.