'Human safaris': Fighting exploitation of India’s indigenous Jarawa tribe

May 15, 2012

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A road at the center of a "human safari" scandal in India’s Andaman Islands is still open, 10 years after that country’s supreme court ordered it closed. The road is used for "human safaris," which promise tourists the chance to "spot" members of the rarely seen Jarawa tribe, as if they were zoo animals.

Sophie Grig of the indigenous peoples advocacy group, Survival International, says the Jawara tribe sticks out in that part of the world:

 

It is widely believed that they are part of one of the first successful migrations out of Africa and have lived on the islands for about 55,000 years. Anthropologists call them “negrito,” not a very good word, but used to describe the small statured, black tribes who live in the Andamans and parts of Malaysia and the Philippines. They definitely don't look like other people in India. 

 

Survival’s Director Stephen Corry says authorities have not done enough to enforce the court’s order:

 

The Andaman authorities might be putting measures in place to try to control the use of the road, but it is clear that these measures don’t get to the root of the issue. The fact is 250 vehicles are still entering the reserve on a daily basis. The only way of ensuring the Jarawa are free to choose their way of life for themselves is by closing this illegal road.

 

Grig joins Worldview Tuesday to talk about her group’s efforts.