Human Rights Law Network


Reports

Independent People’s Tribunal on Dams, Environment and Displacement

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Rivers are an integral part of the Sikkimese ethos. Much of the folklore and traditions of the locals revolve around the mighty Teesta and the Rangeet Rivers. The River Teesta not only sustains the

livelihood of the locals by preserving and propagating the rich bio-diversity, but also is the very backbone of Sikkim’s cultural heritage. The river’s source in the North is regarded by the Lepchas as holy and the “cradle of their civilisation.” It is home to diverse ecological systems inhabited by rich and diverse flora and fauna and many protected species of plants and animals.

Sadly, development to this small state has come in a diabolic way in the form of hydropower projects to be built on the Teesta and Rangeet Rivers.

More than 20 mega hydropower projects have been proposed challenging the need, benefits and the rights of the people. There is colossal environmental damage to the entire region as well as to the mighty river which is being turned into a paltry stream. The planners have no idea about the fatality and futility of the entire project. The social, cultural and livelihood hazards posed by the project have also been totally ignored leaving the affected people at the mercy of the private companies and vested interests.

The manner in which the lands have been acquired from the people and the displacement has been carried out of the local communities also raises questions vis-a-vis the rights of the people over their lands. In the name of development, forest and private lands are acquired for private companies/corporates under threat, coercion, and people are forced to accept petty compensation in the name of public purpose. The fear psychosis remains prevalent in the region.

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National Consultation on Litigating Against Corporations for Human Rights

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The following is an accurate, unceremonious and literal report on the recent National Consultation on Litigating Against Corporations for Human Rights.

On the whole, it has been appropriate to keep the presentation reports narrative and word for word, with corrections only for the purpose of clarifying details for the reader rather than diluting issues. A narrative style has been necessary to convey the passion and urgency with which these issues were presented during the two day conference in Goa on the 5th- 6th of February, 2011.

A particularly refreshing, inspiring and motivating characteristic of this conference was the diversity of speakers and topics. All were open to speak about their experiences and, as such, views ranged from that of unionising against corporations to how effective corporate social responsibility policies can be formed.

Therefore although the focus has very much been that of litigating against corporations for the benefit of human rights issues, attendants of the conference were able to gain a deep understanding of a broad range of issues, equipping them with a nuanced understanding of this complex topic. We hope the following report can offer the same.

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Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) is a division of the Socio-Legal Information Centre (SLIC). SLIC is a non-profit legal aid and educational organization, registered under the Registration of Societies Act, 1860, Indian Public Trust Act, 1950 and the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act, 1976.

HRLN is a division of the Socio-Legal Information Centre (SLIC). SLIC is a non-profit legal aid and educational organization, registered under the Registration of Societies Act, 1860, Indian Public Trust Act, 1950 and the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act, 1976.