Court orders Covid-19 plan for indigenous peoples


Illegal mining on indigenous lands is blamed not only for environmental damage, but also for spreading Covid-19. (Photo courtesy of Ibama)

The Brazilian Supreme Court this month ruled unanimously that the country’s government must draft a plan to protect indigenous peoples from Covid-19, in part by expelling the estimated 20,000 illegal gold miners occupying indigenous lands. Although the government has signaled that it will comply with the ruling, environmental advocates question whether it will follow through. The Brazilian Health Ministry reports that as of mid-August, over 19,000 indigenous Brazilians—or just over 2% of the country’s 900,000 indigenous people—had contracted Covid-19, and 330 had died of the disease. But the true totals in both instances are believed to be significantly higher. That’s not only because many cases have likely gone unreported, but also because the ministry figures do not take into account indigenous people living in cities and other areas not within existing or planned indigenous reserves. Concern about Covid-19’s spread among indigenous peoples comes... [Log in to read more]

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