World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Victory: India saves ‘Avatar tribe’ from Vedanta mine

13 January 2014


The Dongria Kondh are celebrating their victory over British mining giant Vedanta Resources. © Toby Nicholas/Survival

In a sensational victory in the stand-off between India’s ‘real Avatar tribe’ and British mining giant Vedanta Resources, India’s authorities have quashed the company’s plans to mine the Dongria Kondh tribe’s sacred hills, it has been widely reported.

The decision follows unprecedented consultations with Dongria Kondh villages surrounding the mine site, which were ordered by India’s Supreme Court and dubbed the country’s first ever ‘environmental referendum’.

All twelve Dongria Kondh villages involved in the consultation courageously rejected Vedanta’s project in the face of intimidation and harassment, but the final decision lay with the Ministry for Environment and Forests.

The crushing defeat will have global repercussions for companies intent on working on tribal peoples’ lands and should serve as a lesson that tribal communities’ prior consent must always be sought.

Survival International has been at the forefront of a global campaign supporting the Dongria’s struggle against Vedanta Resources, and persuaded celebrities such as Joanna Lumley and Michael Palin to champion the tribe’s cause.

Actor Joanna Lumley, who narrated Survival’s short film ‘Mine’ about the Dongria’s plight, said about the victory, ‘I am thrilled and delighted by this marvellous news. It shows that there really is hope for the ’little people’ of the world, standing up against governments and the greed of large corporations. The strength and resilience of the Dongria Kondh people has been both inspirational and humbling.’

Comedian, actor, writer and television presenter Michael Palin said, ‘This is a rare and hugely significant success. In a classic David and Goliath confrontation big business has been legally held to account by the voices of those whose world was about to be turned upside down’.

Vedanta had failed to seek the consent of the Dongria before embarking on the project and even built a refinery at the bottom of the Niyamgiri Hills, which cost the company an estimated US $800 million.

Vedanta’s mine project was slammed by the British government after Survival submitted a complaint to theOECD, and several shareholders, such as the Church of England, sold their company shares on ethical grounds. Several investigations in India also criticized the project.

The Dongria have been supported by Rahul Gandhi, Vice President of India’s National Congress Party and son of Sonia Gandhi, who had promised to be the Dongria’s ‘foot soldier’ in Delhi. He had twice before visited the Niyamgiri Hills to show his support for the Dongria’s struggle against the Vedanta mine.

Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘Many people wrongly believe that the fight for tribal peoples’ rights is unwinnable, especially when they’re pitched against huge multinationals like Vedanta. But this outcome shows that might isn’t always right. The Dongria’s determination, coupled with overwhelming public support, has set a new precedent for tribal rights in India.’

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Connie Lawn: Middle East Turmoil

There is always turmoil in the Mid East but at this time three major developments have broken at the same time. In Saudi Arabia 91 year old King Abdullah has died... In Yemen, the President and his top advisors have resigned. More>>

ALSO:

Russia Supports Indonesia`s Possible Move To Buy Sukhoi 35

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Russian government supports Indonesias wish to buy the multipurpose fighter jet Sukhoi 35 to enhance the countrys air force. More>>

Economy: International Monetary Fund Downgrade Global Growth Forecast

20 January 2015 – Despite a sharp decline in oil prices, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its latest economic outlook today lowered growth expectations for this year and the next for most countries due to slowdown in investment, and urged governments ... More>>

ALSO:

UN Rights Expert Cancels Visit To Palestinian Territory

Israel’s lack of cooperation leads to cancelled visit by UN rights expert to the occupied Palestinian territory More>>

Pentagon To Deploy 400 Troops To Train Syrian Rebels

Rebel fighters take positions behind sand barricades at al-Breij frontline, after what they said was an advance by them in al-Manasher and al-Majbal areas, where forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad were stationed, in Aleppo January 5, 2015. ... More>>

ALSO:

U.S. Eases Sanctions On Export Of Tech To Cuba

Washington — Today, the Department of Treasury and Department of Commerce officially released the anticipated changes to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR) , reforms announced last year by President ... More>>

Increased Gold Demand Following Shock SNB Move

Gold surged in dollars, pounds and especially euros yesterday after the Swiss Natonal Bank (SNB) caused turmoil in markets. Spot gold surged $30.50 or 2.48% to $1,258.50 per ounce and gold in euro terms rose by 4 per cent from EUR 1,044 to over EUR 1,085 ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news