In a statement published on May 14th, a dozen Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), including La Montaña Tlachinollan Human Rights Center (Guerrero), EDUCA (Oaxaca) and the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (Chiapas), expressed their “deep concern about the conditions that the pandemic may generate in the communities during the following weeks and months, and we ask that a space for dialogue be opened to build proposals that address their conditions and needs.”
They recalled that these groups “have been historically forgotten by public health institutions, causing the systematic violation of their right to health,” a vulnerability that has been reinforced by the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19)
“In addition to the lack of infrastructure, medical personnel and continuous supply of medicines, institutional discrimination and the lack of a culturally adequate and affordable preventive approach to the communities are added; as well as, in this context, the lack of adequate monitoring and follow-up of migrants who return to their communities, taking care of their dignity”, they denounced.
They also worried about “the economic vulnerability of most of the people in the communities. Lack of access to decent sources of employment in communities makes them dependent on trade and informal employment, as well as remittances from migrants in the United States. In the current context of global economic crisis, both local sources of income and remittances are at risk of declining sharply, without a program to guarantee a basic income.” They are alarmed that the food security of several of these communities is at risk.
On the other hand, CSOs expressed their concern at the fact that “communities face a reduced capacity to defend their territories and the environment, since their spaces for community decision-making are restricted and access to institutions for the provision of justice is limited”, which is why they support “the demand for a moratorium on all large-scale infrastructure projects that are affecting or may affect indigenous territories without their consent, with potential adverse impacts on human rights.”
Finally, they warned about the context of increased violence against women aggravated by the context of a health emergency.
Against this background, the authorities urged “to adopt better actions aimed at this population in matters of health, economy, food, water, sanitation, attention to conflict and security, without prejudice to their self-determination and autonomy.” They also called them “To open a space for dialogue and collaboration with civil society that allows us to face this crisis from multiple places; recognizing the efforts that communities are already making to face the crisis due to the pandemic from their own ways of life and organization.”
For more information in Spanish:
Ante la preocupante vulnerabilidad de pueblos y comunidades frente al COVID-19, organizaciones de la sociedad civil piden espacio de diálogo (OSC, 14 de mayo de 2020)
Comunidades indígenas, en especial vulnerabilidad por Coronavirus advierte ONG (Milenio, 14 de mayo de 2020)
Preocupa a ONG’s vulnerabilidad de pueblos y comunidades frente al Covid 19(El Sie7e de Chiapas, 15 de mayo de 2020)
For more information from SIPAZ: