Shillong, Aug 10: The Meghalaya Peoples Human Rights Council (MPHRC) observed the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2020 with the theme “COVID-19 and indigenous peoples resilience”.
Recalling the historic adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) on September 3, 2007, the council reminded the government of India’s (GoI) pledge to recognize, respect, protect and promote the rights of indigenous peoples.
“The UNDRIP establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world and it elaborates on existing human rights standards and fundamental freedoms as they apply to the specific situation of indigenous peoples” said Dino D.G. Dympep, Chairman MPHRC.
The council also expressed gratitude to all healthcare workers; doctors, nurses and the police who are on the frontlines of battling the novel corona virus disease (COVID-19).
“The sacrifices they make, everyday and especially their dedication, commitment and courage during this pandemic, deserve our deepest gratitude and admiration” said Dino D.G.Dympep Chairman MPHRC.
The council urged the Government to put human rights at the center of the pandemic response to ensure that all persons enjoy the right to dignity and equality of access to health services and equality of treatment.
The Government must also “take immediate steps to ensure that indigenous peoples are informed, protected and prioritized during the COVID-19 global health pandemic. Of special concern are the vulnerable chronically ill, those in medical fragility, as well as the indigenous elders, women and children. The Indigenous elders are a priority for our communities as our keepers of history and traditions and cultures” said MPHRC.
“We would be remiss in not emphasizing the need for the Government to act transparently during this crisis. People everywhere need to know of the risks that exist globally as well as locally. While the masks we now wear may be disposable, people are not” conclude MPHRC.