MPs pressure government to sign tribal peoples’ law

May 19, 2008

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- British company Vedanta in spotlight over conflict with tribe

- Julie Christie to attend meeting in parliament

British MPs and peers will attend a reception in the House of Commons tomorrow to press the government to sign up to the international law for tribal peoples. Survival will also brief them about British company Vedanta’s plans to mine the sacred mountain of the Dongria Kondh tribe in India.

Oscar-winning actress and Survival ambassador Julie Christie is expected to attend the meeting hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tribal Peoples, along with Lal Amlai from the Bawm tribe of Bangladesh.

The group of MPs is campaigning for the British government to ratify International Labour Organisation Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples (ILO 169) – the only international law for tribal peoples.

The UK has refused to ratify ILO 169 on the basis that there are no tribal peoples in the country. But this ignores the impact of British companies and development projects on the lives of tribal peoples across the world.

A subsidiary of UK registered company Vedanta plans to mine bauxite on the sacred mountain of the Dongria Kondh tribe in Orissa, India. A large part of the mountain and its forests, on which the tribe depend, will be destroyed. Survival’s director Stephen Corry will talk to MPs about the campaign to stop the mine on the Dongria Kondh’s land.

Lal Amlai will also speak to MPs about the Bangladesh government’s violent repression of his people. The Bawm are one of the eleven ‘Jumma’ tribes of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, and Mr Amlai is the only Bawm to visit the UK.

For further information contact Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]