Communities in Resistance III
15.June.2020

On Thursday, May 28th, CEJIL held its final webinar on the situation faced by indigenous peoples and COVID19, featuring five leaders who are women from Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Mexico and Guatemala. The session highlighted their specific battles and common experiences, defending their rights and territory during the novel pandemic.The discussion focused on the violence they face protecting their land from the State and from extractive industries. Moreover, government action plans to combat the spread of the coronavirus have left many communities behind, with insufficient access to medical care or clean water in order to comply with hygiene guidelines to reduce the spread of the virus. Additionally, they face difficulties accessing government support for vulnerable populations. To make protection against the virus even more difficult, much of the news about the pandemic is only circulated in Spanish, while many communities speak primarily indigenous languages. Throughout, webinar participants emphasized the importance of local and autonomous governance for indigenous communities to combat state negligence, highlighting the importance of listening to their elders and implementing lessons from their ancestors to cultivate food, using traditional medicine, organizing themselves to protect their communities and defending the dignity of their way of life. The session concluded with an emphasis on the strength of indigenous communities and traditions to these historic and new challenges. In the struggle for their land, indigenous peoples will need to continue to be creative, vigilant and tenacious against numerous forces.

 

You can see the webinar here (in Spanish).