For over the past one decade (former) FTSE 100 company Vedanta threatened to displace the Dongria Kondh tribe and destroy the virginal lands of Niyamgiri, in order to extract Bauxite from under its hills. Vedanta planned to build a mine that would violate not just the land but the rights of the people whom rightfully belonged there. Deleterious effects on the environment, the people and the heritage of the tribal community would ensue.
Survival is a UK based NGO, and they decided to be a voice for the voiceless. To allow, for the first time an indigenous community in India to keep the land that rightfully belonged to them.
Survival International has been supporting the Dongria and has lobbied the Indian and UK governments for the mine to be stopped. They submitted detailed reports to the UN and the OECD, provided the Dongria with legal advice, and spent time with the tribal community itself to assess and understand their needs. Survival was supported by other organizations to fight for the rights of the Dongria, including:
Niyamgiri Surakshya Samiti
Communist Party of India
Unaffiliated Odisha based activists/ Delhi Solidarity Group
Wildlife Society of Odisha
Mines, Minerals and People (MMP)
Wildlife Institute of India/LIFE Lawyers
People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)
The Dongria protested against Vedanta locally, and garnered support nationally and internationally. They initiated roadblocks, they formed a human chain around the Mountain of Law and set a Vedanta jeep alight when driven onto their sacred mountain. They are fighting for what’s rightfully theirs, and will not give this fight up as long as they feel the threat of Vedanta.
Survival used every tactic they could think of: Demonstrations, pressure on shareholders by directly lobbying them, the arch bishop of canterbury was repeatedly publicly asked about Niyamgiri, so there was public embarrassment for their association. A degree of notoriety was created that anyone associated with the infringement of the rights of the Dongria was identified. Survival made sure it was always in the forefront of peoples minds and they did a lot of paralegal work to ensure the Dongria Get justice.
Survival also made a film to garner awareness; Survival's supporters sent letters to the Ministry of Environment in India; they lobbied the UN, the UK and the Indian government. But, it is important to note that none of this would have happened without the determination of the Dongria. They were determined to save their mountain, and their home. Survival helped make their voice louder but the victory was theirs.
To prevent Vedanta from building their mine and extracting Bauxite.
To prevent the displacement of the Dongria.
To generate support and awareness for the issue of the Dongria Kondh.
To ensure the Dongria are guaranteed their rights by the Government, against Vedanta and any other such companies.