Eviction of Tribals: Forced Displacement and Its Links With Poor Health

Forced displacement has been shown to increase vulnerability to exploitation, pushing communities to poverty and ill health.

Sarojini Nadimpally, Deepa Venkatachalam and Adsa Fatima | The Wire | 28 February 2019

The Supreme Court’s February 13 order directing state governments to evict an estimated one million members of Adivasi and other forest communities is a grave travesty of justice.

Not only is this order an extremely serious threat to the autonomy, liberty and dignity of all those who are impacted, but it also tramples their rights to life and health. The order has effectively pushed over a million Adivasis and members of other forest-dwelling communities – amongst the most vulnerable in the country – to debility and malaise.

A study published recently by Sama Resource Group for Women and Health (2018), titled ‘From the Margins to the Centre‘ focuses on the health inequities among the tribal communities in selected districts of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha’. It was supported by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and emphatically highlights the link between the poor health status of tribal communities and their marginalised location in the socio-economic and political contexts.

Land alienation, loss of access and control over forests, enforced displacement due to development projects and lack of proper rehabilitation, and indebtedness have been some of the key reasons for the marginalisation of Adivasis.

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