|Photo by Nasrin Siraj Annie|
An Exciting Day for Our Colleagues in Bangladesh!
February 8, 2011
By Kate Hoshour, IAP Senior Research Fellow
Today, Cultural Survival partners with IAP and Jatiya Adivasi Parishad, Bangladesh’s National Indigenous Union, to launch a Global Response and international letter writing campaign aimed at stopping the Phulbari Coal Mine Project.
Cultural Survival has worked closely with IAP and our colleagues in Bangladesh and the UK over the past two months to prepare these Action Alerts calling on our supporters to take immediate action to prevent a humanitarian and environmental disaster.
The alerts convey the enormous threats this vast open pit coal mine poses to vulnerable people and communities in northwest Bangladesh, where as many as 220,000 people could be forcibly evicted from their homes and lands. Jatiya Adivasi Parishad estimates that 50,000 indigenous people from 23 different tribal groups would be displaced or impoverished if the project is not halted.
These urgent Action Alerts will be posted on Cultural Survival’s website today, and will be highlighted in the March issue of their magazine, Cultural Survival Quarterly.
The timing for this Global Response Campaign is highly strategic. The Phulbari Coal Mine Project is at a critical turning point, once again, with a recently elected administration in place, a new national coal policy to be announced by June, and the mine’s investor, GCM, aggressively trying to push the project forward -- despite massive and sustained opposition to the mine within Bangladesh over the past five years.
The stakes could not be higher. Three people have already lost their lives and hundreds of people have been wounded for the simple act of protesting against this project. The World Organization Against Torture has issued Urgent Intervention Alerts expressing “serious concern that further violence, ill-treatment and even deaths may ensue if local communities again seek to give public expression to their opposition.”
Please stand in solidarity with people in Phulbari fighting to protect their homes and livelihoods, and take action today. Read the Sample Letter here, and join us in writing letters to the key policy-makers and diplomats listed in the alerts.
Your letters will have an impact; during their 20-year history of organizing letter-writing campaigns to amplify the voices of some of the world’s most vulnerable people and protect some of the world’s most valuable ecosystems, Global Response has celebrated victories in nearly half of their campaigns!