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Indian government rejection of Vedanta bauxite mine a “landmark victory” for Indigenous rights

Posted by Admin on August 25, 2010

Dongria Kondh protesting Vedanta’s bauxite mine project

Amnesty International :: 24 August 2010

Amnesty International today described the Indian government’s decision to reject the bauxite mine project in Orissa’s Niyamgiri Hills as a landmark victory for the human rights of Indigenous communities.

India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests today rejected the mine project proposed by a subsidiary of UK-based Vedanta Resources and the state-owned Orissa Mining Corporation, after finding that the project already extensively violates forest and environmental laws and would perpetrate abuses against the Dongria Kondh adivasi and other communities on the Hills.

“The Dongria Kondh and other local communities have been struggling for years for this decision, which is a very welcome one,” said Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Deputy Director, Madhu Malhotra.

“The companies and the Orissa government should now guarantee that they will not attempt to simply move the project to another site without ensuring adequate safeguards – they must ensure they will respect the human rights of Indigenous and local communities wherever the companies operate.”

Amnesty International also welcomed the government’s decision to suspend the clearance process for the six-fold expansion of the Lanjigarh refinery at the foothills of Niyamgiri, operated by Vedanta subsidiary Vedanta Aluminium, after a government’s expert committee found it to be illegal.

“The authorities should order a clean-up of the Lanjigarh refinery, which has caused air and water pollution, seriously affecting the rights of neighbouring communities who are finding life there unbearable”, said Madhu Malhotra.

Amnesty International called on government authorities to establish a clear and transparent process that seeks the free, prior and informed consent of any Indigenous communities who may be affected by such projects, and respect their decision, in accordance with national and international law.

The Ministry-commissioned expert report that underpinned today’s decisions, documented the companies’ legal violations and human rights abuses. Its findings and the rejection of the project are consistent with Amnesty International’s extensive report published in February 2010, Don’t Mine us out of Existence: Bauxite Mine and Refinery Devastate Lives in India.

For eight years, the Dongria Kondh and other communities in Niyamgiri have been protesting against bauxite mining plans by Vedanta Resources subsidiary, Sterlite Industries India, and the Orissa Mining Corporation.

The communities were concerned that the project, which would have been situated on their traditional sacred lands and habitats, would result in violations of their rights as Indigenous peoples to water, food, health, work and other rights to protection of their culture and identity.

“After years of struggle and visits by committees our voice has finally reached Delhi,” a Dongria Kondh leader today told Amnesty International.

6 Responses to “Indian government rejection of Vedanta bauxite mine a “landmark victory” for Indigenous rights”

  1. shankar said

    This is a great victory for the Kondh Dongria people,and a statesman -like decision by the government. All right thinking people support and applaud this decision.
    But constant vigilance and overwatch of the situation is still required by the Central Govt, because the decision overturns the view point of the Orissa Government, which directly administers the region, and was strongly backing the Vedanta Group.There is every possibility of retaliation against the Niyamgiri tribals by the state government through its police and administrative machinery, as at Kalinganagar earlier.
    THIS is the benevolence in governance that the country requires, especially at the generally less enlightened levels of state governments, and the CORRECT strategy to counter internal violence propagated by Maobadis and theories of “Peoples War”

  2. Green Red said

    Nandigram, Lalgrah and this one…

    Long Live People’s Struggle for their own land!

  3. Green Red said

    Elaborate

  4. Greene Red said

    At last somebody gave me a hint who Rahul Gandhi is and, sent me this article.

    BJP slams Rahul Gandhi for sharing dais with a Maoist leader

    Rahul Gandhi New Delhi, Aug 27 (ANI): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday criticised Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi for having shared the dais with a Maoist leader during a recent tribal rally at Lanjigarh in Orissa.

    BJP spokesperson Prakash Javdekar voiced this concern, while speaking to the media persons outside the Parliament here today.

    He assailed Rahul Gandhi for sharing the dais with a Maoist leader identified as Lado Sikoka, who also addressed the mass gathering from the same podium used by the Congress General Secretary.

    “The Home Minister must immediately clarify as to whether the dais was shared of Rahul Gandhi by the suspected Naxalite (Maoist). If this is the case, it’s a very serious case. This is how the government wants to proceed ahead? The government such divided where the minister is taking side of the Naxalites (Maoists), and where the crown prince for them is sharing the dais with Naxalites,” said Prakash Javdekar.

    “This is totally unacceptable. The Home Minister must come clean and must make a statement,” he added.

    Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari, however, said Rahul Gandhi’s visit was just a step to show that the indigenous community is not left ignored or isolated from the mainstream of Indian social fabric.

    “Well, let us make one thing very clear, that the import of Gandhi’s visit yesterday to Orissa to Niyamgiri was to send the larger message out to the indigenous people of India that their concerns are not unseen and unheard. By making this point forcefully articulately that he is the advocate of their interests in Delhi,” said Manish Tiwari.

    “They can get justice in the scheme of things within the Indian constitution as its stands structured, I think is a very strong and a very sensitive message to people who otherwise were feeling that they do not have a place in the mainstream,” he added.

    Earlier on Thursday, addressing a rally in Orissa’s Kalahandi District, Rahul Gandhi said Central Government’s rejection of environment clearance to a bauxite mining project in the Niyamgiri Hills is a victory of the local tribal people.

    Rahul Gandhi addressed the rally at the same place, where the UK-based Vedanta group has set up a refinery unit.

    Earlier in March 2008, Gandhi had visited Lanjigarh area and said: “Some tribal youth had told him that they worshiped the Niyamgiri Hills and that their God was being snatched from them.”

    The Nehru-Gandhi scion’s visit to the backward Lanjigarh area came at a time when Vedanta’s mining plan in Niyamgiri Hills, home to Dangaria and Kutia Kandha tribes, has suffered a body blow with Union Environment Ministry rejected plans of India-focused miner Vedanta Resources Plc to go ahead with bauxite mining in the State on Tuesday, saying that it violated forest laws. (ANI)

    Looks like a man in one of the elements of Indian ruling myriad has been hanging around the true Indian Peioples. what’s wrong with that ?

    In a discussion site associated with Kasama project there was this fellow who argued something like the form of negotiation the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) is doing things is a big lesson to CPI (Maoist) . Bullshit. comparing a third world.. fourth world country’s situation (and mistakes) with dire but shining path of the revolution that is occuring in India is like comparing State of Iran with Gheshm Island. Revolution of India is and will be the most sophisticated but proud and rightous revolution for all the humanity.

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