Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A BIG VICTORY FOR A SMALL PEOPLE

dongria kondh children photo

The Dongria Kondh tribe of 8,000 has prevailed in its struggle to prevent the $8 Billion Vedanta Corporation from mining bauxite on their sacred mountain in Eastern India.

The global campaign of Survival International was vital to the victory, demonstrating the power of organizing on-the-ground actions and outreach via the Internet.

According to The Guardian:

The project has been delayed by four years because of intense opposition from environmental and tribal rights group. At Vedanta's annual meeting in London last month its board of directors faced criticism from shareholders, celebrity activists and charities all protesting about the company's human rights and environmental record.

Survival International, whose supporters sent more than 10,000 protest letters to the Indian government, described the decision as a "stunning victory" and "a crushing defeat for billionaire Anil Agarwal, Vedanta's majority owner and founder".

Survival campaigner Dr Jo Woodman said: "This is a victory nobody would have believed possible. The Dongria's campaign became a litmus test of whether a small, marginalised tribe could stand up to a massive multinational company with an army of lobbyists and PR firms and the ear of government.

"Incredibly, the Dongria's courage and tenacity, allied with the support of many people in India, and Survival's supporters around the world, have triumphed."

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