Re: URGENTLY CALL / WRITE THE AUTHORITIES TO STOP VIOLENCE AT GOVINDPUR VILLAGE -1ST JULY 2013
- Dear Prashant Paikray,Who is responsible for the present plight of Govindpur people?What a let down was it on 22 June 2013!Why was the procession stopped at Patana from proceeding towards Govindpur?I was a sorry witness to this shocking betrayal.What is the understanding between Navin Govt and POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti??Sankara NarayananOn Mon, Jul 1, 2013 at 8:51 AM, alter nate <noposco@...> wrote:
From 28th June 2013 onwards, the government of Odisha again started the forceful destruction of our beetle vineyards in Govindpur village of Jagatsinghpur district, Odisha. At least 20 persons including Mr. Tuna Baral, Mr. Tofan Mohanty, Ms. Shantilata Swain were injured in a police lathi-charge who are opposing the forceful land acquisition for POSCO. The police has taken one of PPSS leader Mr. Kalpataru Mantri of Govindpur village.
The Jagatsinghpur Superintendent of Police P. Satyabrata Bhoi and his 10 platoons (300 personnel) of police force beaten up elder persons, women and children who opposed betel vine demolition. They acquired land without consent of the farmers. Some of the protesters attempted suicide by consuming poison at the land acquisition spot, police took them into custody for some hours. As you know the state government earlier took our president Mr. Abhya Sahoo into the custody in order to use force for acquiring our land.
This is how the chief minister of Odisha defines the peaceful land acquisition process.
Today, the police operation may resume any time. The representatives of political parties and social movements have already reached at the Govindpur village to support the people.
At this juncture, we urge you to start writing and calling the following authorities to stop this forceful land acquisition.
Meanwhile attaching herewith the press release and link of a report produced by the International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) of the New York University School of Law and International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net). The report appeal to Government of India and POSCO to suspend the project and end to abuses “before they become even more catastrophic in scale. We are conveying our gratitude to these institutions for highlighting the truth and demanding the suspension of the project.
Kindly circulate this mail widely.
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
E-Mail - prashantpaikary@...
You can call/write to the following :
1. Naveen Patnaik
Chief Minister, Odishas
Tel. No.(O) 011 91 674 2531100,011 91 674 2535100,
011 91 674 2531500, Epbax 2163
Tel. No.(R) 011 91 674 2590299, 011 91 674 2591099,
011 91 674 2590844, 011 91 674 2591100,
Fax No- (91)6742535100
E Mail: cmo@...
2. Dr. S.C. Jamir, Governor of Odisha, Fax No- (91)6742536582
3. Shri Jugal Mohapatra , Chief Secretary, E-mail: csori@....
Phone no - 0674 - 2536700
0674 - 2534300
0674 - 2322196
Fax No - 0674 - 2536660
3. S.K. Mallick , District Collector, Jagatsinghpur, Contact number 09437239444, Fax no - : (91)6724220299
4. P. Satyabrata Bhoi, Superintendent of Police, Mobile no-09437094678,dmjsp@...
5. Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India
e mail: manmohan@...
6. Sonia Gandhi: Tel Phone no - (91)11-23014161, (91)11-23012656, Fax- (91)112301865, soniagandhi@...,
7. Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission of India, Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi 110 001, Tel: +91 11 230 74448, Fax: +91 11 2334 0016, Email: chairnhrc@...
8. Shri. V.Kishore Chandra Deo
Minister of Tribal Affairs
Ministry of Tribal Affairs,
Room No. 400 ‘B’ Wing, Shastri Bhawan,
New Delhi- 110001
9. Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan
Minister of Environment & Forests
Ministry of Environment & Forests
CGO Complex, Lodhi Road
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE // APOLOGIES FOR CROSS-POSTING // PLEASE DISSEMINATE WIDELY
Smita Narula, Faculty Director, IHRC (English, Hindi) Chris Grove, Director, ESCR-Net 917-209-6902; smita.narula@... 718-916-7461; cgrove@...
For India and Korea-based contacts: please email escr-net@...
India and POSCO Must End Abuses Linked to Steel Project
Rights Groups Urge Suspension of Project, Prevention of Forced Evictions
(New York, June 27, 2013)—The Government of India must end human rights abuses tied to its project with South Korean steel giant POSCO, and must immediately cease illegal seizures of land which threaten to forcibly displace as many as 22,000 people in India’s eastern state of Odisha, said rights groups in a new report released today.
The report—The Price of Steel: Human Rights and Forced Evictions in the POSCO-India Project—comes as affected communities gather to protest the eighth anniversary of the signing of the POSCO-India project MoU, and as some of POSCO’s international investors meet in Paris at the OECD’s Global Forum on Responsible Business Conduct.
The Price of Steel—which was produced by the International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) at NYU School of Law and the International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net) based on a year-long investigation—calls for a suspension of the POSCO-India project and a halt to abuses before they become even more catastrophic in scale.
“Should the project move forward, entire villages will be decimated, livelihoods will be destroyed, and families will be rendered homeless, all in the name of ‘development,’” said Miloon Kothari, former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing and Executive Director of the Housing and Land Rights Network. “Forced evictions present serious threats to human rights. The impact on those affected can often be characterized as a human tragedy.”
Worth approximately US$12 billion, the POSCO-India project represents the largest single foreign direct investment in India to date, and will require more than 12,000 acres of land, including approximately 4,000 acres for an integrated steel plant and captive port in an area that is home to forest-dwelling communities and a vibrant and sustainable local economy centered around betel leaf cultivation. For the past eight years, through sustained and peaceful opposition, affected communities—including betel leaf farmers, fisherfolk, and Dalits—have effectively stalled the project and resisted their forcible evictions from lands they have cultivated for generations.
The Price of Steel finds that India’s attempts to forcibly evict these communities stand in violation of international and domestic law. International legal standards require that India exhaust all feasible alternatives to forced evictions; engage in genuine consultation with project-affected communities; ensure the provision of adequate compensation for affected properties; and follow procedures established by law. India has systematically failed to live up to each and every one of these standards.
In addition, under India’s Forest Rights Act, the government must secure the consent of forest dwelling communities before diverting forested land. Affected communities have passed several village resolutions fervently rejecting the diversion of land for the POSCO-India project, resolutions that the Indian government has effectively ignored.
“India’s attempts to forcibly evict communities for the POSCO project are in clear violation of Indian and international law,” said Professor Smita Narula, co-author of the report and Faculty Director of IHRC. “Project-affected communities are living under siege, and suffering severe violations of their fundamental human rights. India must act now to end these abuses and put the rights of its people ahead of the needs of a corporation.”
Indian authorities have actively targeted those who speak out against the POSCO-India project with violence and arbitrary arrests and detentions. Local police have barricaded villages, occupied schools, and leveled thousands of allegedly fabricated criminal charges against project protestors. Indian authorities have also refused to project protestors from consistent and sometimes fatal attacks by private actors who are allegedly motivated by the interests of the company and of the State.
As a result of these abuses, for the past eight years, entire communities in the project-affected area have been living under siege and have suffered clear violations of their rights to security of person and freedom of movement; their rights to be free from arbitrary arrest and detention; and their right to be free from discrimination—particularly on the basis of political or other opinions. Living under siege has also resulted in significant disruptions to many villagers’ ability to access health care, schools, markets, and crops, undermining their rights to health, education, work, and food.
“Thousands of affected community members have struggled to defend their human rights and protect their lands, livelihoods, and dignity.” said Chris Grove, Director of ESCR-Net. “Their demands articulate the reasonable expectations of any just economic development. The pursuit of foreign investment cannot come at the cost of human rights.”
There is no public evidence to suggest that POSCO has taken steps to use its leverage to call for a halt to forced evictions, or an end to human rights abuses associated with the acquisition of land for the POSCO-India project. Despite widespread reporting of these abuses, in an April 2013 letter to ESCR-Net, POSCO stated that it believes the “authorities are not using any force to evict any people.”
ESCR-Net and IHRC call on all relevant actors to take immediate action to fulfill their respective obligations and responsibilities, and ensure that human rights are not violated in connection with the POSCO-India project.
Specifically, the rights groups call on:
• The Indian government to suspend the POSCO-India project until and unless it complies with international human rights standards and domestic law; cease all attempts at forced evictions and land acquisition; end the excessive use of force and of arbitrary arrests and detentions; and ensure project-affected communities unencumbered access to health care, education, work, and adequate food.
• The Republic of Korea to take all necessary steps to ensure that POSCO respects human rights throughout the course of its activities, including by establishing a legislative framework to regulate the overseas activities of Korean companies.
• POSCO and its wholly-owned subsidiary, POSCO-India, to fully implement its commitment to uphold human rights; comply with all relevant domestic laws; and provide for or cooperate in the remediation of any adverse impacts to date.
• POSCO’s international investors—including ABP, Blackrock, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, NBIM, and Bank of NY Mellon—to persuade POSCO to respect the rights of all communities affected by the POSCO-India project.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
The International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) at New York University (NYU) School of Law provides high quality, professional human rights lawyering services to community-based organizations, nongovernmental human rights organizations, and intergovernmental human rights experts and bodies.
The International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net) is a network of over 250 NGOs, social movements, and advocates in 70 countries that collaborate to strengthen capacity, build solidarity, and undertake collective action to advance social justice through human rights.
The views expressed in this release and accompanying report are those of ESCR-Net and IHRC and do not purport to present NYU’s institutional views, if any.