FIAN International stands with villagers in Odisha, India

FIAN International has sent an urgent intervention letter to the State Government of Odisha, India expressing concern over the recent government handover of people’s land in Jagatsinhpur district to the JSW Utkal Steel Ltd. (JUSL), and continuance of human rights violations.

This letter aims to bring to the forefront, the appalling situation of those affected by the now-abandoned POSCO-India Project. Conceived initially to facilitate the construction of an integrated steel plant, captive port, and iron ore mines in Odisha, this project was called off when POSCO withdrew in 2017. Instead of returning the land to those who are facing the loss of their livelihood resources, the Government handed it over to another steel company, JUSL, in September 2018, for the same purpose of setting up a steel plant. 

Ever since their land was forcibly acquired, the villagers have been subjected to arbitrary arrests, detention, and loss of livelihood. We have also received information about  defiance of various laws and procedures, awarding of illegal clearances,  rampant criminalization of human rights defenders, and deeply worrisome environment implications. Based on a human rights analysis of the situation indicating wide scale human rights violations, FIAN International is urging an intervention from the State Government to immediately return the land to the original inhabitants whose livelihoods depend entirely on it.

Considering the present situation in the affected villages the inhabitants will plunge into a much more perilous state of impoverishment and despair if their land is transferred without addressing underlying human rights concerns and settling legal claims as per statutory procedures. 

Read the full letter addressed to the Chief Minister of Odisha and copied to other relevant national and international authorities here.

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