India - Stop Human Safaris

  • by: Judith B.
  • recipient: Ministry of Home Affairs, India

The Jarawa, a reclusive tribe who live on the Andaman Islands, are threatened by "human safaris", in which nearly 200,000 tourists a year arrive to gawp.

These safaris are crass exploitation of a retiring people, most of whom do not want contact with outsiders. They don’t just threaten the tribe’s privacy; they threaten its survival.  

The Jarawa have lived in much the same way as they do now for tens of thousands of years. However, their way of life might not continue for much longer. Outsiders bring infections that the tribe has no resistance to, poachers are taking their game and there are reports of tribal women being assaulted. 

Such tours are also illegal. The Indian government banned them years ago, but tour operators are still running exploitative human safaris under extremely thin pretexts.

Ask the Indian government to stop allowing this blatant disregard for human dignity and the law immediately.

We the undersigned ask that you protect the Jarawa tribe on the Andaman Islands from exploitation by tour operators running "human safaris", in which an estimated 200,000 tourists are taken to stare at the tribe's members.

It is up to individual members of the Jarawa tribe whether or not they want to make contact with outsiders; they are not a spectacle to be exploited for the entertainment of tourists or the profit of tour operators. They are also at risk from common diseases to which they have no resistance.

We ask that you take steps to end this crass and illegal exploitation, starting with the immediate closure of the road through the Jarawa’s land and ensuring that the policy of minimal intervention is strictly adhered to.

Thank you for your attention.

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