In a public declaration, some 225 international organizations have expressed concern about the situation of Amazonian indigenous peoples threatened by the coronavirus and have appealed to national governments, the United Nations, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to take steps to minimize the impacts.
In their declaration, they note the lack of public policies oriented towards these sectors of the population, the deficient health services, the lack of policies that are at once efficient and culturally and linguistically appropriate, and deficient access to drinking water and a good sewerage infrastructure.
Another cause for concern they highlight is the threat posed by the continued impacts of extractive activities in or near indigenous territories and the lack of support for the plans and proposals put forward by indigenous leaders.
Finally, the document appeals to government authorities, the representatives of multilateral organisations and faith-based organisations, executives of extractive corporations and financial institutions to support the following actions:
- An Immediate cease to mining, petroleum and logging activities, intensive agriculture and religious proselytism in indigenous territories.
- A response to the calls from indigenous organisations to adopt adequate prevention measures.
- Respect and promotion of the self-determination, self-care and self-governance of the different indigenous peoples.
- Guaranteed access to adequate and culturally appropriate public health services.
- Control over organised crime in indigenous territories.
- The establishment of virtual working groups comprising representatives of indigenous organisations, the state, the WHO and other rights organisations to develop and promote humanitarian actions.
As more than 38 days have now passed since the declaration of the national emergency and since the government has yet to announce a programme aimed at meeting the specific needs of indigenous peoples, the national Amazonian indigenous organisation AIDESEP has presented a formal complaint to the United Nations against the Peruvian state. It charges it with ignoring the right to culturally appropriate health services and systematic discrimination and warns of the latent risk of ethnocide in the Peruvian Amazon.