Trio accused of failing indigenous peopleNovember 2008
Survival International has picked out Perenco, Samling and Vedanta as three of the worst companies for ‘abusing tribal people’s rights’.
The influential non-governmental organization, which campaigns for better treatment of indigenous people, highlighted the companies to mark the recent United Nations Day for Indigenous Peoples.
It named Vedanta, a FTSE 100 company, for its plans to construct a bauxite mine on an area ‘sacred’ to the Dongria Kondh tribe in Orissa, India, while Perenco, a Franco-British oil company, was chosen for pushing ahead with drilling in Peru, ‘despite being warned that its operations risk the lives of uncontacted Indian groups’.
Samling, a logging company in Malaysia, was named for clearing rainforest in the ancestral lands of Sarawak’s nomadic Penan tribe.
All three companies strongly deny the charges, claiming they have community support for their activities. Vedanta said it had offered to talk to Survival about the pressure group’s allegations ‘on several occasions’ and wanted the organization ‘to help us in our efforts to operate... sustainably in conjunction with our stakeholders’. However, it said Survival has so far ‘not chosen to do so’. Samling said it had a ‘tradition of dialogue’ with indigenous people, while Perenco said it insisted that ‘all personnel must consider social responsibility in all their activities, and intervene when these goals are compromised’.
A Scottish company, Martin Currie Investment Management, recently sold its Vedanta shares, partly as a result of the Survival International accusations.
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