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Do Uncontacted Tribes Have the Right to Be Left Alone?

A remote tribe living in the Amazon jungle is about to be contacted by outsiders from the Peruvian government for the first time, The Washington Post's Ishaan Tharoor reports. The Mascho Piro people are not the first tribe to have existed "almost entirely outside the purview of the nation-states in which they technically live."

Critics says that contact with outsiders could cause many members of the Mascho Piro people to die from outside diseases, but a Peruvian official working on state tribal affairs told Reuters it appears they have been trying to make some sort of contact, including appearing on the banks of an Amazonian tributary and demanding rope, machetes and bananas.

Academics suggest that the best path forward is controlled contact with indigenous groups, "carefully managed to avoid the spread of disease, but also enable the building of trust and providing aid and medical help if needed," Tharoor reports.