Skip to main content

Adani coal project being implemented by "forcibly" acquiring land: Australian traditional owners tell UN official

By Our Representative
The traditional owners, fighting against the Adani Group's $15.95 billion mining project in Australia, have told United Nations (UN) Rapporteur Michel Forst that the Indian business giant and the government have used “coercive powers under Native Title and State Development legislation” to acquire their land.
The move follows the state government of Queensland this week invoking what the indigenous people termed “draconian powers over the rights of the community” as it was “feeling the heat from the extractive industry lobby and their political and media mates”.
Currently in Australia to assess the overall environment for human rights defenders and civil society in the country, Forst was told that the declaration of Adani’s Carmichael coal project as 'critical infrastructure' by the mines minister Anthony Lynham, was “a political absurdity”, an “egregious failure of the Queensland government to respect their rights.
Accusing the authorities of issuing the “threat of compulsory acquisition of our land rights to drive the development of the mine forward”, Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners Council senior spokesperson Adrian Burragubba said in a statement, “Giving Adani this advantage provides cover for the abuse of the rights of Traditional Owners who have stood firm in the face of the destruction that would befall their lands, waters and culture if this massive, inappropriate project were to ever proceed.”
Accusing to the Adani Group and the provincial Queensland government of using “coercive powers under Native Title and State Development legislation”, he said, building on “previous submission W&J made to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” they had sought “assistance to deal with the failure of both State and Federal Governments to properly respect the human rights of W&J Traditional Owners.”
In a written representation to Forst, the W&J council told the Special Rapporteur that they have three times rejected a land use agreement with Adani Mining, “but neither the government nor the mining company respect our position”.
“Earlier this year, and without our consent, the Queensland government issued the mining leases for the mine, and Adani mining claims to have reached a land use agreement allowing it to proceed. But we are currently fighting these moves in the Courts and will continue to defend our rights and stand in defense of our country and culture”, said Burragubba.
“The system is neither free nor fair for Aboriginal people. We were subject to legal coercion and inducements while our internal decision-making processes were actively undermined by the Government and the mining company”, he said.
“We are forced to fight for our survival because state and federal legislation does not assure our rights to our traditional lands and to our culture. Our international legal right to free, prior and informed consent is not protected under Australian law, and Adani has actively exploited this”, he insisted.
On a two-week visit at the invitation of the Australian government, the Special Rapporteur is meetingboth federal and state level officials, parliamentarians, various rights commissioners and ombudsman, as well as human rights defenders and a broad range of civil society representatives from various parts of the country.
The Special Rapporteur will share his preliminary findings and recommendations at a press conference on October 18. His final report will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in a future session.

Comments

TRENDING

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

Counterview Desk
In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers.
Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’.
Pointing out that Evergreen Revol…

Rejoinder: Inescapable to have Central Water Commission as strong technical body in India

By BN Navalawala*
This is with reference to Counterview Blog (December 5, 2018), "Modi govt 'shelves' water reforms report, shows 'no interest' in its recommendations", below mentioned are my comments/observations thereon:
A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mihir Shah, Former Member, Planning Commission, for restructuring of Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for optimal development of water resources in the country in the backdrop of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

Karnataka: NGO Akshay Patra "not sensitive" to nutrition demands of school children

Counterview Desk
Well-known civil rights organizations, Right to Food Campaign and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, have sent a letter to the Union minister of human resource development, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, other concerned ministers and officials of the state expressing concerns regarding the mid-day meal (MDM) to school children, insisting, all contracts to the Akshay Patra for supply of MDM should be immediately terminated.

India's rewritten textbooks talk of demerits of democracy, praise Hitler, underrate Mughals

Counterview Desk
A detailed, 3,800-word review of the books rewritten under directions of the BJP rulers across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014 has suggested that one of aims of the books is to instill a sense of doubt about India’s democratic polity among the country’s young minds. Reviewed in the prestigious US journal, “The New York Review of Books”, in its latest issue (December 6, 2018) by Alex Traub, the scrutiny insists, the effort has also been to paint Indian history from the angle of “Hindu triumphalism”, even as creating “Islamophobia”.

Govt of India "tarnishing" NGO reputation, dossier leaked selectively: Amnesty

Counterview Desk
Amnesty International India has said that a deliberate attempt is being made to tarnish its reputation by leaking a dossier, supposedly made by investigating agencies, to media without giving it access to any such information. The high profile NGO’s claim follows a Times Now report about proceedings launched by investigative agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the rights body for “violations” of rules pertaining to overseas donations.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Four children die after poor UP Dalit, Muslim families forced to flee to forest area: PVCHR

Counterview Desk
Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) has said that the forest department police’s crackdown, allegedly without any prior notice, on Dalit and Muslim households in Dakhin Tola, Churk Bazaar, Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, beating up “children and old people, women, and men in an inhuman way”, has led to “forced displacement, starvation and discrimination”. This has reportedly affected about 350 people.

Vedanta is out but corporate loot continues in Odisha: Local activists tell NAPM yatra

By Our Representative
Lok Shakti Abhiyan leader Prafulla Samantara, winner of the Goldman Environmental (also known as Green Nobel) Prize in 2017, has regretted that though Sundergarh in Odisha, like other forest areas, is a fifth schedule area, where Forest Rights Act (FRA) and Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) is applicable, but these laws are being “outrightly violated to facilitate corporate loot.”