On June 18th, the first report on monitoring of indigenous and comparable communities in the emergency due to SARS-COV-2 was published, the result of the collaboration of various civil society organizations that documents the situation of 42 indigenous localities of in states of the republic. Based on a compilation of data in recent weeks, CSOs concluded that “the pandemic has exposed a long list of structural conditions that deepen the exclusion of indigenous and comparable peoples to the full exercise of rights.”
The aim of the study was “to identify the living conditions during the pandemic, as well as the effects due to internal and external factors, to coordinate support and solidarity actions” in indigenous communities, focusing on different areas such as the health, economic, and emerging security and conflicts, food security and access to water, as well as the State’s responses.
Monitoring yielded quite troubling conclusions in the vast majority of indigenous communities in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In managing the pandemic, the organizations questioned that while the measures taken by the authorities “were dictated for the entire population, they did not have a culturally pertinent focus since they did not contemplate the different realities of the country, particularly those experienced by indigenous and comparable peoples.” With this, “information and sanitary protection measures have come late” and that, at first, what affected the communities was disbelief and fear.
The report also emphasized that “this backward situation is not new, in a large part of the indigenous and comparable communities the pandemic has exposed the consequences of the neoliberal model that throughout history has generated inequality and exclusion limiting access to economic, social and cultural rights.”
Another point of concern reflected in the report is that “almost 70% of the communities monitored mention that people who lived outside the community are returning”: temporary workers who have lost their jobs in the United States and in other states of the Republic; students and people who work in other cities and who are no longer able to find work. All this can feed the tendency that “in the following weeks more cases of economic instability will be observed in the communities.”
Another warning signal: it was observed that the levels of violence that existed before the start of the pandemic are still maintained in the midst of the contingency. “These incidents during the contingency speak, on the one hand, of the absence of the State in its security tasks; and on the other, of the intention of actors such as organized crime who take advantage of the confinement of the communities to advance in the control of the territory”, they pointed out.
The most positive news was that “as of the close of this monitoring, there have been no community outbreaks that have led to massive infections.” However, this situation “can change at any time.”
The observatory that prepared this first report is made up of the following organizations: Aura Strategic Research, Training Center in Ecology and Health for Campesinos – Ombudsman for the Right to Health (CCESC), Montaña Tlachinollan Center for Human Rights of the, Fray Bartolome de las Casas Center for Human Rights, Communication and Training Link, Fundar Center for Analysis and Research, Community Health and Decelopment (SADEC), Services for an Alternative Education, (EDUCA), and Services and Advice for Peace, (SERAPAZ).
For more information inn Spanish:
Las comunidades indígenas ante la emergencia sanitaria (Desinformémonos, 19 de junio de 2020)
ONG: las comunidades indígenas, más vulnerables en la actual crisis (La Jornada, 19 de junio de 2020)
Falta perspectiva intercultural para atender pandemia en zonas indígenas: Serapaz (Aristegui Noticias, 19 de junio de 2020)
For more information from SIPAZ: