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Daily Noon Briefing Highlights: Latin America

30 Jul 2020


The northern Department of La Guajira in Colombia is home to a significant portion of the country’s indigenous people (file photo). Credit: WFP/Mike Bloem

Daily Noon Briefing Highlights – 30 July 2020

Latin America: Update on the Amazon region

UN Resident Coordinators in Brazil, Colombia and Peru have called on the international community to ramp up support to the COVID-19 response in the Amazon region as the virus continues to rage among indigenous people.

The senior UN officials raised the alarm about the situation of 170,000 people – most of them from indigenous communities – living in remote areas along the Amazon River, on the border between Colombia, Brazil and Peru, who are experiencing some of the highest COVID-19 incidence rates. 

Indigenous people generally live under worse socioeconomic conditions compared with the rest of the population, with limited access to social protection. They also face high levels of discrimination in the labour market.

Indigenous peoples are also nearly three times as likely to be living in extreme poverty, with limited access to medical services and water and sanitation and information. 

Communities living in voluntary isolation are particularly vulnerable, and forcibly breaking their isolation poses severe threats, including to their life and health.

The UN is working with national authorities in the three countries and indigenous peoples’ organizations to define needs, and re-programme existing funds to better assist indigenous communities with increased surveillance, medical supplies and personal protective equipment.

UN agencies are providing technical support, services and supplies to relevant health authorities, including some cash assistance.

But funding shortages are significantly hampering the ability of humanitarian organizations to scale up their response.

In April, the UN Inter-Agency Support Group (IASG) on Indigenous Issues called for tailored attention and support to indigenous people due to their increased vulnerabilities to COVID-19.