Brazil asked to take measures to protect indigenous peoples from Coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: A woman from the Yanomami Indigenous ethnic group wearing protective mask while carrying a child looks on, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the 5th Special Frontier Platoon in the municipality of Auaris, state of Roraima, Brazil

A commission linked to the Organization of American States (OAS) on Monday asked Brazil’s government to take steps to protect the indigenous Yanomami and Yekuana peoples from the spreading coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, the entity’s Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) gave the government 15 days to outline what measures it has taken, such as the provision of adequate healthcare, to protect the indigenous peoples’ livelihoods.

The OAS commission had already been asked to take a stand, with one issue the potential exposure of the Yanomami to illegal gold miners operating on their indigenous land.

“The commission considers that … the rights to life, personal integrity, and health of members of the Yanomami and Yekuana indigenous peoples are under serious threat,” the OAS commission statement said.

The government’s press office declined to comment, and the Health Ministry could not be reached for immediate comment.

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