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Submitted by on Fri, 10/15/2021 - 09:03
Solidarity Statement on the COVID 19 crises in India and Papua New Guinea
A collage of two hands in medical apron holding earth surrounded by clouds, surgical masks.

The Urgent Action Fund Asia and Pacific expresses its solidarity with India and Papua New Guinea, experiencing the deadly impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We join the international community that is currently mobilising resources and supporting communities of women and non-binary human rights defenders, as they battle the current waves of COVID-19.

New mutations of the COVID-19 virus, and delays in getting a critical mass of its nearly 1.4 billion population vaccinated have led to an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in India that shows no signs of peaking. Official records peg the number of people suffering from COVID-19 at over 18.3 million, while the official death toll is being significantly under-reported as per media reports. Similar scenes of a floundering medical system, overwhelmed hospitals, infected front-line health workers and inadequate medical supplies are being witnessed in the Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea (PNG) too, with hardly any reportage making its way into global media outlets. While the number of cases reported in PNG stands currently at 10,000, experts say the rate of infection is at least ten times more, with the possibility of a total of 1 million people being infected in coming weeks.

Inadequate state response has resulted in poor management of the crises in both these countries, leaving ordinary citizens and non-government organisations to lead mobilising of emergency support, relief, and dignity during this devastation to communities. It is undeniable that in both countries, it is a privilege to access correct information and secure medical care or other kinds of support to fight and withstand the pandemic.

As a feminist fund that supports the resistance and resilience of women and non-binary human rights defenders across Asia and the Pacific, we are keen to understand the resources that we need to mobilise and make available to communities that are hardest hit, and with limited access to resources. Towards this,

1. We have resources available under our COVID-19 Crisis grants that individuals or communities can access to support their urgent, sustenance or medical needs.

 2. We seek support from women’s groups or collectives to support access of marginalised individuals and groups to the resources we have at our disposal.

 3. We call on other funders to offer compassion and solidarity through the resources and relationships they offer to communities in need. This means more flexibility in application, grant spending, and reporting requirements. This also means doing whatever they can to mobilise and release more funding as swiftly as possible.

 4. We offer our support and expertise to foundations and/or other philanthropic organisations in these regions, that have access to, and/or want to work with marginalised groups of women or non-binary communities.

 5. We are also keen to better understand other forms resources that we can provide or help mobilise through our international development networks to support a stronger pandemic response.

We reaffirm our commitment to supporting women and non-binary human rights defenders who are disproportionately impacted by the virus, because of their gender and other identities that are historically discriminated against. We continue to stand beside defenders across the regions who continue to forge webs of safety and care in their communities and demand state accountability. We will continue to monitor situations of women and non-binary defenders across the regions at this fragile and perilous time, as the health emergency continues to cause economic, social, and political devastation.

For more information on our grants, or ways that we can support a more inclusive pandemic response, please write to

In solidarity and co-responsibility,
UAF A&P Board and Team members