A luxury resort threatens survival of the Jarawa tribe
A luxury resort being built on the Andaman Islands in India is threatening the survival of the Jarawa Tribe, who number just 320 and have only had contact with outsiders since 1998.
Government authorities on the Andaman & Nicobar Islands want to stop the hotel, and are appealing against a Calcutta High Court ruling allowing it to go ahead.
An Indian travel company, Barefoot has started building a resort barely 500 meters from the Jarawa reserve, established by the Indian government to protect the aboriginal tribe. The hotel is an offshoot of an existing “Barefoot” resort in the Andamans at Havelock Island, whose guests have allegedly included Oscar-winning Hollywood actress, Kate Winslet.
Survival International campaigner Sophie Grig, who visited the Andamans last year, says, ‘The resort is next to a path the Jarawa use regularly as they hunt and gather in the forest. There is no way Barefoot could avoid putting at serious risk the lives of these extremely vulnerable people, whose existence is already threatened by poachers from the neighboring countries invading their land and by the road that cuts through their forest.
‘One has to wonder why Barefoot is building a hotel so close to the Jarawas, if it is not to allow tourists the opportunity to intrude into their lives. It will also bring an influx of workers and settlers to the area, increasing the considerable pressure on the Jarawas and their land. And it will risk exposing them to diseases to which they have no immunity, and to alcohol, which has ravaged other tribes on the Andamans and elsewhere.’
Ironically, Barefoot claims that ‘sustainable and socially responsible tourism development’ is core to its philosophy.
Survival’s report ‘Progress Can Kill’ details the devastating effects of imposing contact on isolated tribal peoples.
News Courtesy: Survival International, London (UK)