Meet Prafulla Samantara, environmental justice advocate & 2017 Goldman Environmental Prizewinner

Congratulations to Prafulla Samantara, one of this year’s prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize winners!

On Wednesday, April 26, The World Resources Institute is hosting an event in Washington DC to honor Samantra and initiate a conversation with experts on access to justice, indigenous land rights and sustainable development. I will be participating on a panel as a representative of our network, and encourage anyone in the area to join us.

In 2003, Samantara saw a newspaper article announcing Vedanta Resources’ plan to build an open-pit bauxite mine in eastern India’s Niyamgiri Hills. The proposed $2 billion project would have destroyed more than 1,600 acres of forest, polluted a critical water source and displaced members of the 8,000-person Dongria Kondh tribe in the process.

After reading the notice, Samantara biked across the Niyamgiri Hills to mobilize the indigenous Dongria Kondh people, who were unaware that the Indian government had appropriated their sacred lands to an $11.4 billion corporation.

He also filed a lawsuit. After a decade-long legal battle, India’s Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in 2013 that affirmed the Dongria Kondh’s land rights.

Join us at WRI to hear more about Samantra’s incredible story and discuss the challenges and opportunities our community faces in the pursuit of environmental justice.

Hope to see you there!

4 Likes

Amazing experience which is value adding to Papua in Papua New Guinea and we will need similar luck in the judiciary system which is deemed highly politicised by the ruling party