Urgent appeal to UN to stop mine

The Dongria Kondh forming a human chain to express their opposition to Vedanta\s mine.
The Dongria Kondh forming a human chain to express their opposition to Vedanta\s mine.
© Survival

Survival International lodged two urgent appeals today to stop a controversial bauxite mine in India. Survival has called on both the UN and India’s National Human Rights Committee to stop Vedanta Resources’ mine in the Niyamgiri Hills, Orissa.

The mine will destroy the sacred mountain of the Dongria Kondh tribe, and threatens the abundant forests in which they live. But the tribe have never been consulted about the project, jointly run by the Orissa state government and Vedanta.

The Orissa government appears to have decided to violate the rights of the Dongria Kondh in the name of ‘development’. Survival has asked the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to investigate the case urgently and to invoke interim measures to stop the mine before the Dongria Kondh are irreparably harmed.

The appeals join a raft of complaints, investigations, and condemnations surrounding the project. Activists in India have been protesting against the mine for years and Survival, Amnesty International, ActionAid, and War on Want have all condemned it.

The British government is investigating a complaint that Vedanta Resources’ treatment of the Dongria Kondh breaches guidelines set by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Last year Martin Currie Investments sold their shares in the company over concerns about the project, and last month an environmental award for Vedanta was withheld at the last minute after demonstrators highlighted the company’s appalling track record in Orissa.

The Dongria Kondh are also actively opposing the mine, holding regular protests and blocking the roads being built into their forests.

Survival’s director Stephen Corry said today, ‘The Orissa government and Vedanta Resources have been shirking their basic responsibilities toward the Dongria Kondh for too long. It’s time the international community took a stand – government has a duty to protect its citizens, not to strip them of their land and religion.’

For more information please contact Miriam Ross at Survival International on (44) (0)20 7687 8734 or (44) (0)7504 543 367 or email [email protected]