On April 10th, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) called on the authorities of the three levels of government to take measures to protect the indigenous and Afro-descendant population that is at high risk due to the increasing spread of Coronavirus.
In the press release that was published, they emphasized the vulnerability of this group of people because the “majority are far from the country’s urban centers, with little or no coverage by medical infrastructure and marginalized from the information that makes them aware of their rights.”
For this reason, they highlighted the importance that preventive measures to combat this virus “be produced and disseminated in clear and timely messages in the mother tongue and indigenous languages” and that the message of “stay at home” be strengthened by “stay in your community.” In addition, they urged that at the same time it was necessary to review and guarantee the non-invasion of the territories since “a social policy of non-access to indigenous and Afro-descendant territories means believing in the collective ethical care of their own forms of control, exercising their autonomy and free self-determination.”
Taking into account the increased risk situation of women in isolation, they specifically called for guaranteeing access to justice for victims of family violence.
It is also worth mentioning that following the call of the CNDH, the organization Movement of Indigenous Peoples, Communities and Organizations, National Movement (MPCOI-MN) made a statement and demanded that an Emergent Food Support Program be implemented for the time the emergency lasts.
“The increase in recessions at the national level and the real possibility of a global depression will further aggravate the situation, causing fear that many indigenous people will die, not only from the virus itself, but also from conflicts and violence linked to the shortage of resources, and in particular drinking water and food,” they said in the statement.
For more information in Spanish:
Comunicado de la CNDH (el 10 de abril de 2020)
Pide CNDH proteger a población indígena por COVID-19 (La Razón el 10 de abril de 2020)
Organizaciones indígenas piden atención y protección ante coronavirus (El Popular el 12 de abril de 2020)
Exhorta CNDH a los gobiernos a proteger salud de los indígenas (El Diario de Chihuahua el 11 de abril de 2020)
For more information from SIPAZ:
Chiapas: Health Workers Denounce Shortages in Hospitals (April 10, 2020)