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  • Waorani family at home, Nemonpare, Pastaza, Ecuadorian Amazon.

    Waorani family at home, Nemonpare, Pastaza, Ecuadorian Amazon. | Photo: Amazon Frontlines / Nico Kingman

Published 1 June 2020
Opinion

At least 180 cases were confirmed among Amazon's Indigenous peoples in Ecuador, while seven deaths were reported.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expressed concerns Saturday about the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths among Amazon's Indigenous people in Ecuador.

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"The IACHR alerts the (Ecuadorean) state to the special vulnerability of Indigenous peoples and recalls the need to take extreme measures to guarantee their right to health through intercultural, gender and intergenerational solidarity approaches," the Commission said Saturday in a statement on Twitter.

Amazon’s Indigenous peoples including the Kichwa, Waorani, Achuar, Shuar, and Siekopai original nations, are being dangerously threatened by the pandemic, IACHR warned, as at least 180 cases were confirmed and seven deaths with three suspicious others reported.

For weeks human rights groups such as Amazon Frontlines have been raising concerns on the existential threat the pandemic represents for indigenous communities across the country, drawing attention to the failure of the state to uphold its duties. 

Indigenous community leaders have also spoken out about their communities being abandoned to fate during the crisis, with state authorities unable to conduct tests and dismissing initial members presenting symptoms. 

As Ecuador’s government could not meet its responsibility, NGOs and non-state actors such as the Confederation of Amazonian Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONFENAIE) had to take the situation in hand, sourcing and delivering tests and translating safety protocols into native languages among other duties.

Ecuador has seen one of the worst outbreaks of COVID-19 in Latin America after Brazil, Peru, Chile, and Mexico.

The South American country has recorded 39,098 cases with 3,358 deaths to date.

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