Indigenous Peoples and COVID-19: The view from Mexico
COVID-19 has had a strong impact in Mexico. UNESCO’s office in Mexico City has been engaging with indigenous peoples to support targeted actions to respond to the crisis and their particular needs.
Indigenous Peoples in Mexico face particular vulnerabilities in the context of COVID-19, and the UNESCO Office in Mexico has carried out actions to address this in the framework of the COVID-19 response and recovery. UNESCO in Mexico has been invited to lead pillar 5: "Social cohesion and community resilience", of the socio-economic response to COVID-19 from the United Nations System in Mexico, with special attention to the peoples indigenous, youth and women. The COVID-19 pandemic is having drastic social and economic consequences for indigenous peoples and for everyone on the path to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
According to the 2015 Inter-census survey, the indigenous population accounts for 12 250 947 people and constitutes 10.1% of the total national population. Historically, this population group has lived in conditions of social and economic precarity, indicated by the fact that 69.5% of the indigenous population (8.4 million people) lives in poverty situation and 27.9% in extreme poverty (3.4 million people) as stated by the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy.
Official data from the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples (INPI) to 27 July 2020, reported 4,140 positive cases of COVID-19, and 719 casualties among indigenous language speakers. Meanwhile, the pandemic is continuing to evolve in the Mexican territory. The momentum of the pandemic and the prior inequalities already faced by indigenous people in Mexico, are not favorable for the well-being of indigenous peoples in the face of the pandemic.
Among the disadvantages experienced by indigenous peoples, access to water stands out as critical in the context of the current health crisis. Of the rural population in Mexico, 21% of those who speak an indigenous language lack water due to access problems, while among those who do not speak an indigenous language, the lack of service is 16.8%.