On 7th January 2012, the British newspaper, The Observer, exposed the scandal of semi-nude Jarawa women being forced to dance for tourists in exchange for food – by a policeman, who instead of protecting them, encouraged behaviour after being bribed by the tour operators.
The Jarawa are an indigenous people living in the reserve on the Andaman Islands. Under the Protection of Aboriginal Tribes Regulation 1956, it is illegal for tour operators to make contact with the Jarawa – to take pictures, to pass through their territory and to communicate with them. The Indian government’s Jarawa policy states the Jarawa people should have ‘maximum autonomy with minimum interference’ in their lives. However, these rules are not enforced and with over 500 tourists visiting their area daily, the Jarawa have become part of a “human safari” with tourists throwing food in exchange for ‘entertainment’.
Tourism Concern is working closely with Survival International to lobby the Indian Government to protect the rights of the Jarawa people. We need you to support us in building a global pressure on the Indian Government to take measures to ensure that the Jarawa’s rights are recognised and those found exploiting are charged accordingly.
Moreover, we would like to urge for the closing of the road running through the Jarawa’s reserve, which has allowed tourists to make regular contact with them, putting them at risk of exploitation, contracting diseases and predatory sex.