COVID - 19

Joint Statement of Network of Indigenous Women’s in Asia (NIWA) and Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)

Photo: IWGIA

COVID-19 Pandemic Multiplies Burden and Vulnerabilities of Indigenous Women in Asia

Thailand, June 22 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has threatened humanity and wellbeing globally. The severity of its impact on Indigenous Peoples, especially Indigenous women and girls, Indigenous persons with disability and the elderly are disproportionate and grave in Asia. They are facing aggravated health risks, food insecurity, loss of employment and livelihood, increased violence against Indigenous Women, and threats to their lives due to military campaign and intensive attack on their lands and territories.

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International Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission: Indigenous Peoples in Chittagong Hill Tracts experiencing Human Rights Violations

Press Statement: International Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission

June 26, 2020, Dhaka

The International Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission is alarmed at the reports of allegations of human rights violations, especially against the indigenous peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past few months, as the pandemic spread into the three hill districts, widespread human rights violations have been reported by the security forces and the police, as well as vigilante groups, which includes cases of harassment, intimidation, arbitrary house searches, attack on religious places of worship, abduction and threats against indigenous leaders, activists and prisoners. While the pandemic has affected the indigenous people in various ways in terms of food shortage and access to medical services, the harassment and intimidation by the security forces and the activities of these vigilante groups have continued to aggravate the situation.

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Indigenous realities in a COVID-19 world: Around the globe

Reassessing the situation for Indigenous People in a COVID-19 world

As the world has experienced the outbreak and rapid spread of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic over the first quarter of 2020, IWGIA has worked to monitor how the situation has developed and the impacts the pandemic has had on Indigenous Peoples. While recognising the many threats and heightened risks for Indigenous Peoples, it is also important to note that Indigenous Peoples are responding spontaneously to the pandemic using self-determined protection mechanisms. Indigenous peoples know very well that they are at risk and highly vulnerable both to human rights violations as well as to viral infections. They have for generations learned how to protect themselves to survive and thus become strong and resilient communities.

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Some aspects of Amazigh life in the context of COVID-19

Amazighs living in the various Tamazgha countries (North Africa and the Sahara) consider the national public media (especially TV) to be unreliable. Therefore, when they need information, they generally get it from foreign television stations broadcast by satellite and Internet networks. Word of mouth and the "Amazigh telephone", i.e. the informal flow of information in the Amazigh language, also work very well.

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IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights. Read more.

Indigenous World

IWGIA's global report, the Indigenous World, provides an update of the current situation for indigenous peoples worldwide. Read The Indigenous World.

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