The Lancet: Indigenous people's health worst in world

June 2, 2006

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The medical journal The Lancet, in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Survival International, has this week launched a high-profile series of articles highlighting the shocking health crisis facing Indigenous peoples worldwide.

The series provides evidence that across rich and poor countries, the health of Indigenous peoples who have suffered colonialism and loss of land is significantly worse than that of the rest of the population.

In Australia, life expectancy for Aboriginal men is 59 years, compared to 77 for Australian men as whole. The infant mortality rate among Aborigines is three times the rate for the whole of the country. The Guarani in Brazil have the highest suicide rate in South America.

Survival's director Stephen Corry said today: ‘Indigenous peoples' ill health is the legacy of centuries of colonisation, discrimination, poverty and loss of control over their lands and resources. It is one of the most urgent humanitarian issues of the 21st century.'

Survival is working to defend isolated tribal peoples, who are in danger of being wiped out by new diseases and theft of their land. The Jarawa of the Andaman Islands in India have recently been struck by measles for the second time since they came into contact with outsiders. The Akuntsu tribe of the Brazilian Amazon has been reduced to six people, after all their relatives were killed by introduced diseases, violent clashes with invading cattle ranchers and the destruction of their land and communal houses by bulldozers.


To read the Lancet's articles visit

Photos and footage available. For more information call Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]