Latin America’s Black and Indigenous Women face “Triple Pandemic”

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[Black Latin & Indigenous Women]
Thomas Reuters Foundation: "Women from Indigenous Peoples, Afro-descendants, and other local communities are among the hardest hit by COVID-19. Health inequities and other forms of discrimination render them particularly vulnerable."
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Thomas Reuters Foundation: Black and Indigenous Latin American women face "triple pandemic."

Latin America’s indigenous and Afro-descendant communities are facing not just one pandemic, but three. Women bear the brunt of them all, which threatens communities’ very survival.

Women from Indigenous Peoples, Afro-descendants, and other local communities are among the hardest hit by COVID-19. Health inequities and other forms of discrimination render them particularly vulnerable.

The second “pandemic” is a catastrophic increase in deforestation and forest fires. The COVID-19 lockdown left a monitoring gap that illegal miners and loggers have exploited, threatening communities and the resources they rely on, and leading to even more devastating fires. Some governments are also loosening environmental restrictions to “spur” the economy.

The third “pandemic” is growing violence and persecution targeting Indigenous and Afro-descendant leaders and women who defend their lands. Such violence has long plagued communities, but the violence has accelerated as community leaders cannot go into hiding due to lockdowns and travel bans.

In short, structural inequality; gender, ethnic, and racial discrimination; and socio-economic exclusion are being exacerbated by the pandemic. While these interrelated crises impact entire communities, they put a particularly heavy burden on indigenous, community, and Afro-descendant women.

Latin American governments must tackle the acute crisis by ensuring communities have adequate health care and can close their borders to protect themselves. But they must also address the root causes: racism and failure to recognize the rights of women and communities to the lands that underpin their cultures and livelihoods.

For the rest of this Thomas Reuters Foundation story log on to: https://news.trust.org/item/20200709182830-27m6r/

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