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

 

Gordon Campbell: On How Obama’s Supreme Court Choice Says Everything (Bad) About His Presidency

Nothing has epitomised the presidency of Barack Obama quite like his Supreme Court nominees. Time and again, Republican presidents will blithely nominate right wing ideological extremists (Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas) who only sometimes misfire and turn out to be liberals in disguise (David Souter). Yet Obama has consistently skipped over the judicially qualified liberals and gone for a succession of centrists... More>>

ALSO:

Turkey: UN Secretary-General On The Terrorist Bombing In Ankara

The Secretary-General condemns the terrorist attack in Ankara earlier today. According to the latest reports, the explosion in the Kizilay district killed and wounded dozens of people. More>>

ALSO:

Five Years On: Fukushima And New Zealand

Science Media Centre: It was the worst nuclear event since Chernobyl. In the wake of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, a crippled Japanese nuclear powerplant went into meltdown, and the world watched as emergency workers scrambled to shut down and contain the reactors. More>>

ALSO:

UNICEF: 1 In 3 Syrian Children Has Grown Up Knowing Only Crisis

An estimated 3.7 million Syrian children – 1 in 3 of all Syrian children - have been born since the conflict began five years ago, their lives shaped by violence, fear and displacement, according to a UNICEF report. This figure includes more than 151,000 children born as refugees since 2011. More>>

ALSO:

Franklin Lamb: Syria’s Truce Bodes Well For Salvaging Our Cultural Heritage

The tentative cessation of hostilities in Syria, which came into effect on 2/28/2016, brokered by Washington and Moscow, is only in its second week... It is well documented that there have been daily incidents of artillery shelling, airstrikes and clashes. Yet, for the nearly 12 million displaced civilians, half of Syria’s population, it’s a much welcomed respite. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Rubio’s Last Stand (And Sleater-Kinney)

Well, it certainly was entertaining to watch Rubio succeed in getting under Donald Trump’s skin the other day, in the last debate before tomorrow’s Super Tuesday multi-state sweepstakes... The real killer for Rubio was that the most recent poll from Florida which shows him losing his home state to Trump by a huge margin in the primary due on March 15. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news