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Statement from the OAS General Secretariat on the Situation of Indigenous Peoples during the COVID-19 Crisis

  April 3, 2020

The OAS General Secretariat calls on member states to pay special attention to their indigenous populations during the health crisis caused by COVID-19.

Considering the double situation of vulnerability suffered by indigenous communities due to their historical marginalization and geographic isolation, we urge local, regional, and national authorities in each member state to work in coordination with specific protocols that aim to protect the health and well-being of their indigenous population from an intercultural approach, as established in the Declaration of the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples of the United Nations, approved in 2007, and the American Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of the Organization of American States, approved in 2016.

The General Secretariat also urges member states to generate specific programs and policies to sustain the economies of their indigenous communities with the aim of mitigating the social and economic consequences of the pandemic.

Finally, the General Secretariat invites member states and the international community to maintain, during this global crisis, the spirit of unity, solidarity, and reciprocity that has been the historic guiding principle of indigenous peoples.

Reference: E-029/20