UK rights body sets deadline to end human safaris in Andamans

UK rights body sets deadline to end human safaris in Andamans

A UK-based rights body has set a one-year countdown timer to end "human safaris" to the vulnerable Jarawa tribe in the Andamans Islands.

Andaman authorities have pledged to introduce an alternative sea route by March 2015 in order to take tourists off the illegal road that cuts through the reserve.

"At the moment, hundreds of tourists travel through the Jarawa's forest every day. But environmental clearance for the sea route has not yet been granted – making it increasingly unlikely that the March 2015 deadline will be met," Survival International has said.

The not-for-profit organistaion has also written to Environment Minister Veerappa Moily, urging him to approve the alternative sea route urgently, and appealed to the island's Lieutenant Governor AK Singh to ensure the alternative route by March 2015.

"The Andaman Islands are now inextricably linked to this embarrassing saga, and since next to nothing has been done to provide an alternative route to the road, there's no sign of the debate ending soon," said the group's director Stephen Corry.

"It is a year since the Andamans promised the Supreme Court to have a sea route put in place by March 2015, but the pledge is looking increasingly meaningless. The authorities must stick to their self-imposed deadline...," he added.

The group claims that the Jarawa's neighbouring tribes, the Great Andamanese, were decimated by forced settlement and diseases introduced by British colonisers and the Jarawa could face a similar fate if their rights to their land continue to be violated.

Many of the tourists passing through the Jarawa reserve along the illegal road are intent on spotting a member of the tribe – treating them like animals in a zoo, it warns.

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