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  • Amazon peoples are more vulnerable to pandemic. In the photo,  indigenous leader Messias Kokama's funeral May 31, 2020.

    Amazon peoples are more vulnerable to pandemic. In the photo, indigenous leader Messias Kokama's funeral May 31, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/@HYUNDR0P

Published 5 June 2020
Opinion

The absence or limited state presence in many territories makes the situation even more complicated.

The COVID-19 outbreak is one of the greatest threats to the Amazon indigenous peoples' way of living according to a statement released on Friday by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) along with the Colombian Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) office.

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20,000 Indigenous in the Amazon Infected With COVID-19: PAHO

The document warns about how Amazon basin habitant's rights and survivorship has been put into serious risk due to the pandemic, something highly dangerous taking into consideration the fact that they are, as stated, "bearers of a profound knowledge of one of the richest ecosystems in terms of biodiversity and culture on the planet."

"From @ONUhumanrights we warn that COVID-19 threatens Amazon's indigenous peoples"

"From OHCHR and IACHR we salute all the states initiatives concerning which provides economic support, helps food autonomy and self-care measures for indigenous peoples(...)considering that their livelihoods often depend on informal trade or activities such as ecotourism(...) which have been disrupted due to quarantines and other physical distancing measures," they wrote. Nevertheless, more should be done, as they stated.

The UN office also expressed its concern about the lack of access to reliable health information and hospital infrastructure, as well as the nearly absent access to health services adapted to their needs, all of which get aggravated as a result of the crisis.

The Amazon basin is inhabited by more than 420 different indigenous peoples, of which about 60 have placed themselves in isolation. On May 20, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) stated that at least 20,000 Indigenous people have contracted the potentially deadly virus in the area.

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