COVID-19 Threatens Indigenous Lives in the Amazon (6-5-20)

COVID-19 Threatens Indigenous Lives in the Amazon

Amazon Watch

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an additional crisis for indigenous and traditional peoples across the Amazon Basin. Amazon Watch is working on a variety of urgent initiatives in response to emerging needs. You can learn more about them and how you can get engaged and support this work here.

COVID-19 could mean ethnocide for the Amazon’s indigenous peoples if swift action is not taken. The global pandemic puts their lives in even more danger as governments fail to appropriately address the crisis. Across the Amazon, indigenous peoples are already on the front lines of the climate crisis, facing mounting threats including deforestation, fires, industrial extraction, agribusiness expansion, and increased violence against Forest Guardians.

What Is Amazon Watch Doing to Address the COVID-19 Emergency in the Amazon?

We Called on the Ecuadorian Government to Respond to Indigenous Demands for Urgent Action on COVID-19
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Amazon Watch joined indigenous and human rights organizations and sent an urgent letter calling on the Ecuadorian government to implement multiple protective measures during this public health crisis that respond to the needs of indigenous peoples.

We Built an International Network of Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples Across the Amazon Facing the Pandemic
Amazon Watch built an international network of solidarity with over 250 organizations to amplify the demands of indigenous groups across the Amazon including a call for an immediate moratorium on any activity that includes the entering of foreign persons into indigenous territories.

We Responded Immediately to Sarayaku Floods in the Midst of COVID-19
Our partners in Sarayaku faced an additional crisis to COVID-19: torrential rains over the month of April led to flooding of the Bobonaza River in Ecuador’s central Amazon, washing away the homes and crops of hundreds of families, along with community bridges. We contributed matching funds through the Amazon Defenders Fund to rebuild their community.

How Are We Mobilizing Funds for Our Indigenous Partners During COVID-19?

The Amazon Defenders Fund
Since 2006, our Amazon Defenders Fund (ADF) has channeled millions of dollars to support the urgent and strategic priorities of local grassroots partners by providing flexible micro-grants. Right now, the ADF is also providing COVID-19 emergency rapid-response grants to meet the pressing needs of indigenous peoples’ communities and organizations during the pandemic. Donations to the ADF make a significant difference for communities on the front lines of the pandemic. More info here.

The Amazon Emergency Fund: An Indigenous-Led and -Managed Fundraising Campaign
Amazon Watch stepped up to support indigenous organizations to address COVID-19 needs across the Amazon and is a founding member of the Amazon Emergency Fund, an indigenous-led fundraising project. We recognize that the need to protect and support indigenous communities during the pandemic requires an upswell of global support. More info here.

Artists United for Amazonía: A Live Event to Benefit the Amazon Emergency Fund on May 28th, 2020
The Artists for Amazonía Campaign was co-founded by Amazon Watch and the Environmental Media Association to harness the power of creative and entertainment influencers to mobilize global action in response to the crisis in the Amazon and threats to indigenous Earth defenders. In response to the escalating threat of COVID-19, Artists for Amazonia hosted a live benefit event for the Amazon Emergency Fund featuring musical performances, entertainment influencers, indigenous leaders, scientists, conservation advocates – and more! More info here.