Archive for the ‘Human Rights’ Category
Few of these Amazonian tribes live as they did as little as 50 years ago and fewer still remain uncontacted by what we egotistically refer to as “civilization.”
The uncontacted tribes that remain in the Amazon are under threat as illegal loggers, poachers (and in Ecuadors case the Oil Companies) ruthlessly push further and further into the jungle. Another of the biggest dangers to these tribes is that their immune systems have been sheltered from the innumerous diseases and infections of modern civilization and something as small as the common cold can wipe them out like they did to the Australian Aboriginies and other indigenous groups in world history.
We need to do more to protect these peoples so that history does not repeat.
Uncontacted Tribes of the Ecuadorian Amazon
Because Ecuador has the fastest rate of deforestation in the entire Amazon basin and the largest oil reserves outside of Venezuela the rich and magical cultures of the Kichwa, Shuar, and Huaorani have had no choice but to change and adapt to an increasingly brutal and unjust world to survive.
The majority of these tribes have had to abandon the nomadic lifestyle and setup small villages to protect their territory from illegal land grabs and sadly in the worst effected areas some of these tribes have abandoned their native religion and language as well.
Ecuador does however have as many as five tribes living in voluntary isolation that have refused to be eaten up by the modern world. These tribes are of the Huaorani ethnicity and are called the Tagaeri, the Huiñatare, the Oñamenane, and two groups of the Taromenane that currently live the naked and nomadic life of their ancestors inside the Yasuni Biosphere and along the border of Peru.
The impending drilling of the giant oil fields inside Yasuni National Park will change all of that.
Today in Ecuador many people doubt these tribes still exist and the oil companies with vested interests in the Yasuni have rigorously tried to push this view. A friend who works in the Ministry of Environment in Coca has seen aerial photos taken by the Ecuadorian Military that prove their existence but the government will not release them – the optimist in me hopes this is to conceal their location instead of attempting to conform to the oil companies powerful point of view.
From time to time other evidence emerges that is too hard to refute about the existence of these tribes – like the body of a illegal rare wood logger found in Yasuni National Park with 7 spears in his stomach. Or reports that these illegal loggers murdered five uncontacted tribes people and cut off their heads to intimidate them.
Uncontacted Tribes of the Brazillian Amazon
We know very little about the language and cultures and even whereabouts of many of the Amazons uncontacted tribes. Sadly a few of South Americas governments like Peru have used this as an excuse to claim they do not even exist. To counter this stupidity a documentary with some fascinating footage of an uncontacted tribe in Brazil has been released to defend the rights of these people. You can see part of it here:
You can help by signing this petition addressed to President Humala of Peru to step up and protect the human rights of these people.
I witnessed a very sad sight last night. I had just arrived in Riobamba after spending 9 hours on a bus back and forth from quito to finally get my visa. On friday night Riobamba is always alive as hundreds of young people walk up and down the main Avenida; in and out of restaurants, bars, and clubs; drinking and having carefree fun with friends.
I popped into a friends bar which is decorated with bulls heads besides the framed photos of bull fighters delivering the coup de grace in the bulls final battle. A man parked his car 15 metres from the bar and walked in, ordered a beer, took a sip and began chatting to the bar tender. A moment later a boy selling flowers approached him but the man refused the flowers and something in his stomach must have said ‘go check your car’
The man walked outside and in the two minutes it took to order the beer another boy had broken into the car and was busy stealing the radio. The man yelled for help and ran to the car to catch the thief and a crowd quickly gathered round as other men blocked the doors and trapped the him inside. They rang the police then began to taunt the boy inside whose eyes were wide like a cornered animal desperate to escape his fate.
The other boy selling flowers as a distraction had disappeared so the mobs wrath was centered on the one in the car who had locked the doors from the inside to prevent the owner from breaking in and violently venting his anger on the boy.
My friend remarked to me that the boy looked like he was high on Glue, used commonly amongst street kids because it is dirt cheap and helps suppress pangs of hunger and the biting cold while making the sniffer feel euphoric. Glue also removes inhibitions and fear but long term use severely damages brain cells destroying any hope the kids will lead a normal life as adults.
It took 45 minutes for the police to arrive (even though the police station was 5 blocks away) and the boy looked relieved as they pushed back the mob and escorted him to the police station. Nothing in the car was damaged and the men in the mob laughed as the boy was lead away.
I couldn’t help but feel deeply sorry for the scared little boy and somewhat horrified at the mobs behavior that, in a better world, should have been more understanding and compassionate towards him even if he was trying to steal.
Martin Luthar King once said:
“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar, it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”
I believe that this quote also applies to circumstances like this and its only when we seek first to understand the reasons why some kids are more prone to substance abuse and stealing instead of just outright blaming them for doing wrong will society become a fairer community for all and these incidents can be better prevented.