Brazil asked to take measures to protect indigenous peoples from COVID-19

by Reuters
Tuesday, 21 July 2020 00:56 GMT

A child from the indigenous Yanomami ethnic group holds a protective face mask at the 4th Surucucu Special Frontier Platoon of the Brazilian army in the municipality of Alto Alegre, state of Roraima, Brazil July 1, 2020. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

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Brazil was given 15 days to outline how they have worked to protect the Yanomami and Yekuana indigenous peoples

BRASILIA, July 20 (Reuters) - 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.

(Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu and Ricardo Brito Additional reporting, writing by Jamie McGeever Editing by Leslie Adler)