In 2008 we began a campaign to help protect not just the livelihoods, but the homes of tens of thousands of tribal people who live on the Niyamgiri Mountain in Southern India.
The British based mining company Vedanta wanted to mine the land for Bauxite, but in the process they would be evicting communities who had lived there for generations and damaging a rich and diverse environment.
The Vedanta refinery in Lanjigarh, Orissa
We joined the campaign because Vedanta is a UK company, which means we were able to put pressure on them, together with the thousands of tribal people campaigning in India.
In January 2009 20,000 men women and children from Niyamgiri marched through dense forest to create a 17-km human chain around the mountain, symbolically protecting it from destruction.
One of the marchers Kumuti Majhi told us: “No company can take our forest that we have been protecting as our home for generations.”
ActionAid protest at Vedanta AGM 2009, Stop Vedanta campaign
Here in the UK at the Vedanta AGM campaigners made their point by bringing a giant digger to the company’s office, calling on them to stop trying to take the communities land.
Thousands of people took action in support of the campaign. We called on shareholders to stop investing in the company, took out legal challenges and campaigned alongside the communities in Niyamgiri.
Then In August 2010, after 6 years of national and international campaigning, divestment by key Vedanta shareholders and many legal challenges, there was some fantastic news: the Indian Government publically refused vital environmental permission for the mine to go ahead.
This wouldn’t have happened without many thousands of people taking action and holding the company to account.
Your actions can make all the difference, please find out about our current campaigns and take action today.