Holding Vedanta to account

It’s summer time, so it must be reporting season in the world of business, which for us at Amnesty means time to shine the old spotlight back on Vedanta.

Now those of you not in the know, we’ve been hammering on about Vedanta’s pretty poor respects for human rights.

The FTSE-listed company has been determined to expand its presence of an alumina refinery in Orissa, India. Yet, people living near the refinery have complained of pollution affecting their health for years. The air is chocked with dust and there is now a toxic waste pond right beside the local river, so people are unsure whether their main source of water is safe to use.

And then there’s the plight of the indigeneous people who live on the proposed site. They view the land as sacred and yet their views have been largely ignored by the company.

So, against this backdrop, Amnesty viewed the Indian government’s decision to block the proposed expansion as a welcome first step to addressing the local community’s basic human rights.

However, that seems to have failed to deter Vedanta. And on the eve of their UK AGM, due to be held in London on Wednesday (27 July), they’ve decided to appeal the decision.

To counteract that, we have a new report, entitled “Generalisations, Omissions, Assumptions”, yesterday on Vedanta’s activities.

As reported in the Observer , the Scotsman and the Times, the company failed to adequately consider the human impacts of its proposed projects in Orissa and has little grounds for a successful appeal.

The Indian government needs to hold firm. In the meantime as shareholders attend the AGM perhaps they can follow Aviva investors’ lead and question the company’s corporate social responsibility policies further.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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