Five years after the UN first called on India to close the Andaman Trunk Road (ATR), Survival is urging the organization to bring an end to human safaris by speaking out for a second time.
India ignored the UN’s call in 2007 to ‘implement the 2002 order of the Indian Supreme Court to close sections of the Andaman Trunk Road’; thereby allowing the exploitation of the Jarawa to continue.
However, in recent months, a series of articles by a British newspaper have put the issue under international scrutiny.
Officials in India and the Andamans now face domestic and international pressure to stop the Jarawa falling victim to abuse on the road that runs through their reserve.
The importance of closing parts of the Andaman Trunk Road has received cross-party support from 15 MPs in Britain. MEPs in the European Parliament are also raising the issue with the EU’s Foreign Affairs Representative.
UK MP Mike Crockart said to Survival, ‘as a member of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, issues like this are very important to me. This is a matter of basic human rights. It is not right for anyone, anywhere to be treated like this. They are human beings and deserve to be treated as such.’
Survival has now written to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), as it meets in Geneva.
It has urged the UN to reiterate its call for the road to be closed, ten years after it was officially ordered to be by the Supreme Court.
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘All eyes are on India and what it will do next. Closing the road is not about isolating the Jarawa, but upholding their right to control their own land and choose if, and how, they interact with outsiders. Far from meddling in India’s affairs, Britain, Europe and the UN’s concern shows the gravity of the situation, and the need to respect human rights by closing the road.’
Survival is calling on the public to write emails through its website
Download Survival’s 2012 letter to CERD (pdf, 164 KB)
Download CERD’s 2007 call to close the ATR (pdf, 139 KB)