COVID-19 And Humanity: Human Rights in Peril
The COVID-19 pandemic is not only a calamitous global event, but it is revealing the worst fears, especially, human rights, conflict, racism, and starvation.
While thousands of migrant workers belonging to Indigenous communities have lost jobs and are stranded in several places across Asia − especially in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Thailand − and are struggling to survive, governments are using the situation as a cover for conducting military campaigns, land grabbing, rolling back protective rights, weakening environmental laws and safeguards, etc. Further, licenses are being granted to large-scale development projects in forest lands and mining operations are continuing in some countries. Along with this, the ever impact of the lockdown has been felt in general, but indicatively, the degree of severity is likely to be felt by women and persons with disabilities (even in the future) looking at the trend. “The democratic fabric of many countries is eroding during this pandemic. When people are in lockdown and prevented from going out and protest or go to the court, governments are rolling back constitutional rights of Indigenous Peoples, and evicting people from forest lands and military campaigns are being carried out. Are all these in any way relevant to the fight against the Pandemic? Human rights and democratic norms are being put to peril," says Secretary General of Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) Mr. Gam A. Shimray.
AIPP has been observing the situation in Asia and the trend indicates that stringent measures put in place by governments in the last few months has not been effectively used to put their house in order to deal with the impact of the cycle of the pandemic curve that is likely to continue for some more time. Severe food and clean water shortages continue, and access to healthcare and essential services have hardly improved. Even appropriate awareness information in local languages for communities is still a major challenge. In this update, we provide some of the trends on the issue of human rights in Asia and it based on information compiled by AIPP i.e. both secondary sources and communication from the ground.
Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, May 2020