The Attack On Indigenous Rights In Brazil – OpEd – by Yanis Iqbal (Eurasian Review – August 11, 2020)

On 5 August, 2020, the Brazilian Supreme Court ordered President Jair Bolsonaro to institute measures aimed at protecting indigenous people from the Covid-19 pandemic.

This ruling is the legal recognition of the totally disastrous anti-indigenous policies of the Bolsonaro government. Like other indigenous people living in the Peruvian jungles, eastern Bolivia, the Ecuadorian Amazon and the Colombian Amazon, Brazilian collectivities too have been disproportionately impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than 23,000 members of 190 indigenous groups in the Amazon basin have been infected by the virus and all of these communities share a commonality – they suffer from structural inequalities.

According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), “Indigenous peoples, in particular indigenous women and girls are often disproportionately affected by epidemics and other crises.

Indigenous peoples are nearly three times as likely to be living in extreme poverty as their non-indigenous counterparts. They account for almost 19 per cent of the extreme poor”. In Latin America, more specifically, it is estimated that 43% of the 44.7 million indigenous people are poor (living on less than $5.50 a day in 2011 purchasing power parity prices (PPP))and 24% are extremely poor (living on less than $1.90 a day in 2011 PPP prices).

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