Amid spread of Covid-19 NHRC issues advisory to ministries, states and union Territories to look over the tribal people

The National Human Rights Commission has issued an advisory to two Union ministries, states and union territories to ensure the protection of human rights of 75 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in view of reports about the spread of Covid-19 infection among several of their members, officials said on Friday. “AS per the Census 2011, the population of 75 PVTGs is less than one lakh,” it said in a statement.

The commission observed that many of the PVTGs have already been struggling against extinction and if Covid-19 infects them, they will not be able to survive, which will be a “great loss for the humanity and diversity of the human race”.

The Commission, in its letter to the secretaries of the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, chief secretaries of states and administrators of UTs, has asked for the implementation of its recommendations in the advisory and sought action taken reports within four weeks.

“This is based on the existence of pre-agriculture level of technology, relative physical isolation, stagnant population, extremely low literacy, and a subsistence level of economy,” the statement added.

“In this prevailing context of pandemic, it is imperative to issue an advisory for the protection of holistic human rights of the PVTGs and also keeping their deep-rooted health and socio-economic inequities and their naturally isolated habitation spread across inaccessible, far-flung, hilly and forested areas in view,” it added.

The secretary, Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs, and the chief secretaries, administrators of the states and UTs have to submit monthly reports to the NHRC till the end of the Covid-19 with respect to the measures taken for implementation of this advisory.

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