Indigenous Peoples and COVID-19 pandemic

Foreword by Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO

It is my pleasure to present this foreword to UNESCO’s first bulletin on indigenous peoples, which has a particular focus on their resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. This bulletin showcases the important work carried out in recent months to prioritize indigenous issues – and the UNESCO Intersectoral Working Group on Indigenous Peoples Issues has played an essential role this year in supporting cultural diversity and human rights, in line with the longstanding missions of our Organization.

This action was born of a shared observation – the pandemic did not create inequalities, it exacerbated them and revealed existing divisions between social groups. In many places, indigenous populations are among the most marginal and precarious of all. This difficult reality was clearly illustrated by Pat Turner, the Chief Executive of the Australian National Aboriginal Community Council Health Organization, who stated: ‘I can’t be any blunter. If COVID-19 gets into our communities, we are gone.’

Yet, in the face of these difficulties, we all have much to learn from indigenous peoples and their experience in managing epidemics. Continue reading

Articles

Indigenous peoples and the COVID-19 pandemic: a Global Overview

Contagious diseases and indigenous peoples have a long and painful history. The novel coronavirus and the COVID-19 pandemic have raised again the specific vulnerabilities and resilience required of indigenous peoples. From the Okavango Delta in Botswana to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, how are indigenous peoples being impacted on by the COVID-19 pandemic and how has UNESCO responded?

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