International alliance to protect isolated indigenous peoples

In November 2005 the First International Gathering on Isolated Indigenous Peoples living in Amazonia and the Gran Chaco was held in Belém (Pará), organized by the Isolated Peoples General Coordination Team/FUNAI (CGII) and by the Indigenist Work Centre (CTI). More than seventy people took part. As well as representatives from Brazil, the event was attended by delegations from Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay – whose cases were presented and discussed with participants representing 36 institutions – and countries such as Norway, the United States, Great Britain, Spain, France and New Zealand.

As an outcome of the presentations, cases analyses and suggestions, a final document was produced demanding that the governments of countries possessing isolated indigenous groups take measures to protect their habitats and rights and to respect their decision to avoid contact with official agencies if they so wish.

The indigenist Sydney Possuelo – coordinator of CGII at the time – reaffirmed his policy of only contacting isolated groups in cases of grave risk, emphasizing the need to respect the autonomy and isolation of these peoples. To justify this policy, Possuelo provided a general assessment of the situation of various peoples who were contacted and today find themselves in extremely difficult situations with their future seriously under threat.