Since 1987, the Brazilian government has implemented a no-contact policy, which prevents contact between isolated indigenous tribes in the Amazon and members of the general public, including state officials. The government justifies this policy on the grounds that contact would expose members of isolated tribes to dangerous illnesses as well as violate their right to determine their own life processes. In this essay, I bring liberal theory to bear on the question of whether Brazil’s treatment of isolated indigenous tribes is justified. I argue that the current policy actually fails to treat isolated indigenous persons as free and equal.

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