국제앰네스티는 지난 10월 22일, 인도 오리사주(State of Orissa)에 있는 영국에 본사를 둔 비철금속 회사인 베단타의 알루미늄 정제공장 확장계획을 거부하기로 한 인도정부의 결정을 환영의 뜻을 밝혔다.
인도 환경ㆍ산림부는 베단타 알루미늄 회사가 란지가르흐(Lanjigarh) 지역에 있는 정제공장을 여섯배 확장하려는 계획이 인도 내 환경법에 저촉된다는 이유로 불허했다.
국제앰네스티 마두 말호트라(Madhu Malhotra) 아시아ㆍ태평양국 부국장은 “우리는 이 결정을 매우 환영하며 공장확장에 맞서 싸우는 지역 주민들에게 매우 중요한 결정이다”라면서 “베단타의 정제공장은 국내 외 환경, 사회, 인권기준에 부합하지 않고 있으며 당국은 지역주민들에 대한 건강실태조사와 지역환경 정화를 명령해야 한다”고 밝혔다.
이 거대한 정재공장의 그늘 속에 살고 있던 12마을의 사람들은 더 이상의 토양, 수질오염을 막기 위해 오랜 시간 동안 확장공사를 반대해 왔다.
인도 환경ㆍ산림부는 지난 8월 베단타 계열사 중 한 곳이 란지가흐르 지역 주변의 니얌지리산(Niyamgiri Hills)에서의 채굴 계획 또한 환경적인 이유와 동리아 콘드 족의 인권보호를 이유로 불허한 바가 있다.
INDIAN GOVERNMENT’S DECISION TO REJECT VEDANTA REFINERY EXPANSION WELCOMEDS
21 October 2010Amnesty International on Thursday welcomed the Indian government’s decision to reject plans for the expansion of an alumina refinery by a subsidiary of UK-based Vedanta Resources, in the state of Orissa.
India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests rejected a six-fold expansion of the refinery in the Lanjigarh area, proposed by Vedanta Aluminium, finding that the project violated the country’s environmental laws.
“The decision is very welcome – and tremendously important for local communities, who have been fighting to prevent this expansion going ahead,” said Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Deputy Director, Madhu Malhotra.
“The refinery fails to meet accepted national and international standards in relation to its environmental, social and human rights impact. The authorities should order a clean-up and monitor the health status of the local communities.”
Residents of 12 villages who live in the shadow of the massive refinery – mostly Majhi Kondh adivasi (indigenous) and Dalit communities who rely on agriculture for their livelihoods – have long campaigned against the expansion, arguing it would further pollute their land and water.
Kumti Majhi, a local indigenous leader, told Amnesty International, that the decision to prevent expansion was very welcome, adding that “however, we continue to breathe polluted air; our water sources continue to be polluted by the refinery and our health continues to suffer. We will not rest till these problems faced by us due to the refinery under operation are fully addressed.”
The Ministry had in August rejected plans, by Sterlite India, another Vedanta Resources’ subsidiary and the state-owned Orissa Mining Corporation, to mine bauxite at Niyamgiri Hills near Lanjigarh after finding that it would violate forest and environmental laws and the rights of the Dongria Kondh adivasi communities.
The Ministry’s decisions have been based on reports by two expert committees which documented the companies’ breaches of Indian law.
Their findings and the authorities’ rejection of both the proposed mine and refinery expansion are consistent with the findings and recommendations of a detailed report published by Amnesty International’s in February 2010, Don’t Mine us out of Existence: Bauxite Mine and Refinery Devastate Lives in India.
This work is part of Amnesty International’s Demand Dignity campaign which aims to end the human rights violations that drive and deepen global poverty. The campaign will mobilise people all over the world to demand that governments, corporations and others who have power listen to the voices of those living in poverty and recognise and protect their rights. For more information visit the Demand Dignity section.