Survival protest - ‘Finsbury profits from tribe’s destruction’

May 28, 2008

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Survival International this morning held a demonstration outside the London PR company FINSBURY, a subsidiary of global advertising company WPP.  The protest highlighted Finsbury’s involvement with British mining giant Vedanta, which is set to destroy one of India’s most isolated tribes – the Dongria Kondh.

Carrying placards that said ‘Finsbury profits from tribe’s destruction’, demonstrators handed leaflets to Finsbury employees as they arrived for work, urging them to persuade Finsbury to resign their account with Vedanta.

Vedanta’s subsidiary, Sterlite, plans to mine aluminium ore from the Niyamgiri mountains in Orissa, India, where all of the 8,000 Dongria Kondh live.

The Dongria Kondh vehemently oppose the mine. Jitu Jakesika, a Dongria spokesperson, said, ‘We will become beggars if the company destroys our mountain and our forest so that they can make money. We will give our lives for our mountain.’

The Dongria Kondh have lived on the slopes of Niyamgiri since time immemorial, and are totally dependent on its forests. They view the mountain as sacred, grow crops on the slopes, and gather wild fruit in the dense forests.

Survival’s director Stephen Corry said today, ‘Finsbury cannot continue to parrot that the mine will benefit the tribe which it will, in reality, destroy. Unless corporations take collective responsibility for their and their clients' actions, human rights will remain empty rhetoric.’

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

Dongria Kondh