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« State of Alaska Prioritizes Fishing over Alaska Native Health and Human Rights »

Le 20 mai, 2020
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« State of Alaska Prioritizes Fishing over Alaska Native Health and Human Rights »

The Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation (BBAHC), the Bristol Bay Native Association (BBNA) and tribal governments in the Bristol Bay region in Southwest Alaska USA have called for the closure of the most lucrative wild stock salmon fishery in the world, Bristol Bay, to protect the lives of the Alaska native residents and others who live in the region. In calling for the closure of the fisheries, these tribes and tribal organizations are excercising their inherent rights of self-determination and self-governance. Many of these communities were devastated by the 1918 flu epidemic and know first hand how quickly a virus like COVID-19 can kill people and devastate small tribal communities if it is introduced.

To date Alaska Governor Mike Dunlevy and federal and state officials have refused to close the fishery. At the same time, they have not committed to written binding protocols with tribes and tribal organizations in the region that will guarantee that communities in the region have adequate sanitation facilities, the necessary health care infrastructure, appropriate personal protective equipment (PPEs), testing and tracing. Tribal communities have also called for increased police enforcement and other governmental services that must be in place before thousands of fishermen and processor employees, many coming from COVID-19 hotspots, arrive into the Bristol Bay region.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations Human Rights Council Special Procedures have stated that law and policy emanating from the COVID-19 pandemic should not target groups nor should it be used as a cover for repressive action under the guise of protecting health.

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Robert Clark

Chief Executive Officer - Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation (BBAHC), a health consortium for Tribal Governments of the Bristol Bay region

Geoffrey D. Strommer

Counsellor for BBAHC – Hobbs Straus Dean & Walker, LLP

Alfred Maurice de Zayas

Professor, Lecturer – Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations, also former Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order

Ambassador Ronald Barnes

Moderator - posted for Alaska in Geneva with Indigenous Peoples and Nations Coalition (IPNC) and International Human Rights Association of American Minorities (IHRAAM)

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