Survival International appeals to UN to stop bauxite mine in Orissa

July 15th, 2009 - 6:51 pm ICT by ANI  

London, July 15 (ANI): Survival International lodged two urgent appeals today to stop a controversial bauxite mine in Orissa,India.

It called on both the UN and India’s National Human Rights Commission to stop the Vedanta Resources’ mine in the Niyamgiri Hills, Orissa.

It claimed that the mine would destroy the sacred mountain of the Dongria Kondh tribe, and threaten the abundant forests in which they live.

It also claimed that the tribe have never been consulted about the project, jointly run by the Orissa Government and Vedanta.

It said that the rissa Government appears to have decided to violate the rights of the Dongria Kondh in the name of ‘development’.

Survival International 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.” (ANI)

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