End in sight for India's notorious 'human safaris'

By agency reporter
September 20, 2017

Notorious 'human safaris' in India’s Andaman Islands may soon stop, after the authorities announced that a new sea route around the islands will soon open.

The new route will keep tourists off the infamous Andaman Trunk Road, which was built illegally through the forests of the isolated Jarawa tribe.

The road brings a daily invasion of hundreds of tourists into the heart of the Jarawa reserve, who treat the Jarawa like animals in a safari park. One tourist described his trip: “The journey through tribal reserve was like a safari ride as we were going amidst dense tropical rainforest and looking for wild animals, Jarawa tribals to be specific."

The Jarawa, like all recently contacted peoples, face catastrophe unless their land is protected, says Survival International, the global moevement for the rights of tribal people. The human safaris are also dangerous – one Jarawa boy lost his arm after tourists threw food at him from a moving vehicle.

In 2002 India’s Supreme Court ordered the road closed, but it has remained open.

Survival International led a global campaign against the human safaris, calling for a boycott of the Andaman tourist industry until they came to an end. Nearly 17,000 people from around the world pledged not to holiday in the islands in protest.(http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/18347)

The boycott will be called off as soon as the Andaman government agrees to ensure that tourists are no longer able to use the road.

Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said: “Treating the Jarawa as a tourist spectacle was a disgusting practice – it also put their lives in danger. It’s more than time for the human safaris to end. If this sea route can do that, then we welcome it. If not, we’ll carry on campaigning until the Jarawa’s right to determine their own futures and stop being harassed by tourists is secure.”

* Survival International https://www.survivalinternational.org/

[Ekk/4]

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