The Andaman Trunk Road was ordered to be closed by India’s Supreme Court in 2002 but it still remains open and poses a high threat to the indigenous community who have a population of just 365.
‘Survival’, an organisation which campaigns for tribal people’s rights worldwide, has called for travellers to boycott the road which runs through the Andaman Islands, a destination growing in popularity among tourists.
Rules to protect the Jarawa reserve and its community are routinely broken and thousands of tourists — both Indian and international — travel along the road each month, making the reserve in effect, a human safari park.
The hunter-gatherer Jarawa, have only had friendly contact with outsiders since 1998 so there is a high risk of tourists passing on diseases to the community who have little immunity.
In 1999 and 2006, the Jarawa suffered an outbreak of measles, which historically has decimated many indigenous communities worldwide following outside contact. The ongoing use of the Andaman Trunk Road risks a repeat of previous outbreaks.
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