India’s indigenous peoples bearing the brunt of COVID recovery plans, NGOs urge Indian Government to stop use of coal for recovery
Copenhagen/New Delhi, 11 September 2020: On the eve of auctioning of 41 coal blocks today by the government of India, the Danish-based International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs and New Delhi based National Campaign Against Torture and Indigenous Lawyers Association of India in their report, “Bearing the Brunt: The Impact of Government Responses to COVI-19 on Indigenous Peoples in India” urged the Government of India to cancel auctioning of the coal blocks as part of India’s Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (Self-Reliant India Mission).
The COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting indigenous peoples, exacerbating underlying structural inequalities and pervasive discrimination. These serious impacts need to be specifically addressed in the response to and aftermath of this crisis.1
Reaction by States to the pandemic has been mixed, with some States rolling out COVID-19 programmes specifically focusing on indigenous peoples. Others have been providing a more limited level of support and some States are failing to adopt specific policies and at times neglecting even to include indigenous peoples in general COVID-19 responses. At the same time, indigenous peoples, as active agents and drivers of change, are finding their own solutions to respond to the health crisis, relying on traditional knowledge and practices,2 through their own representative institutions or self-government, as noted by indigenous representatives from several countries.
Read the full PDF from OHCHR