The following article is based on a press release by The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), a coalition of human rights organisations. It was issued at the recent intergovernmental Universal Periodic Review of India (UPR), held in Geneva, Switzerland. The coalition maintains that current indices, used to calculate the country’s rate of impoverishment, grossly underestimate its true levels. If the government followed standards set by the 2012 Human Development Report, India’s poverty rate “would be close to 55 percent of the population” – by far the most egregious of any country.
Prafulla Samantra, president of the Peoples’ Empowerment Movement, one of the NGOs in the coalition, lambasts India’s “development process”, which he claims ” relies heavily on the exploitation of natural resources [and] has displaced and dispossessed millions of tribal people throughout the country… “In Central India, states like Orissa and Andhra Pradesh are being increasingly targeted by multinationals for investment. The Forest Rights Act of 2006 recognises some rights, but it has not been fully implemented and companies keep taking over forest and land. Many tribal people were shot by police defending the multinationals. The draft land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement bill does not take a full human rights approach, nor does it state that evictions should take place only in exceptional circumstances”.
Among the mutlinationals involved in the area are Vedanta, Rio Tinto and POSCO.