To mark the UN Day for Indigenous Peoples on 9 August, Survival International today named its ‘unholy trinity’ – the three worst companies abusing tribal peoples’ rights. They are:
1. VEDANTA. This FTSE-100 company is determined to construct a bauxite mine on the sacred hills of the Dongria Kondh tribe in Orissa, India. It has already built a $1 billion aluminium refinery at the foot of the hills. The Dongria Kondh, one of India’s most isolated tribes, are resolutely opposed to the mine, which will destroy them as a people.
2. PERENCO. A Franco-British oil company, Perenco is pushing ahead with drilling in the nothern Peruvian Amazon, despite being warned that its operations risk the lives of uncontacted Indian groups. The company’s plans have attracted two lawsuits from Peru’s Amazon Indians, but it has vowed to carry on.
3. SAMLING. Active in Sarawak, Malaysia, for four decades, Samling has been responsible for logging vast areas of rainforest, including the ancestral lands of the nomadic Penan tribe. The Penan have repeatedly blockaded logging roads in an attempt to halt the devastation of their forest, but much of it has now been destroyed. Many Penan have been arrested, and James Ho, Samling’s Chief Operating Officer, has said, ‘The Penan have no rights to the forest.’
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘Mining, oil drilling and logging – these three companies work in very different fields, but they have one thing in common – a total disregard for the lives of the people whose lands they are destroying. It’s the same old story – these companies want the resources, and don’t care what happens to the people. They may refer to ‘corporate social responsibility’ these days, but few are taken in – it’s the absolute pursuit of profit and the sweeping aside of self-sufficient people.’
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