Creating an enabling environment for civil society and human rights defenders to protect the affected communities from the negative impact of large scale infrastructural development projects and violation of human rights. Advocating for reform the land acquisition, compensation and resettlement related policies, and provisioning for safeguard measures in foreign investment projects.
About the Project:
In the recent years several foreign aided and large-scale infrastructure development projects have drawn the attention of the human rights defenders and environmentalist groups with the apprehension that these projects will negatively affect the life and livelihood of the local inhabitants. Out of those, the 1, 320 MW coal-fired Rampal power plant project and the 1,200 MW coal-fired Matarbari power plant project have ignited controversies over huge land acquisition and its negative impact, both social and environmental, on the local people. A total of 1,834 acres of land has been acquired under the Rampal power plant project in Bagerhat district, right next to the Sundarbans, and 1414 acres under Matarbari project in the coastal district of Cox’s Bazar. Since the inception of the projects the aggrieved community kicked-off protests against land acquisition measures as none of these projects incorporated people’s opinion regarding compensation and rehabilitation. Although the project authorities claimed altogether 534 households (2,563 people) to have been displaced but the activists apprehended that the impact would be much higher than the number. It should be mentioned here that the people living in the project area have developed over time a typical pattern of livelihood comprised of fishing, salt farming, subsistence agriculture, honey collection, forest wood cutting etc. depending on existing ecological set up. Displacement from these project interventions will dismantle this livelihood system and make them vulnerable to unemployment. Besides, the Matarbari project threatens Sonadia Environmental Critical Area (ECA) which is located within 15 km of the project site. This project is also around public settlement and approximate density of 6,667 people per square kilometre This project engages local and national stakeholders such as media, NGOs, local government, environmental activists, human rights defenders, think tanks and global stakeholders such as Global Justice, Both Ends (The Netherlands), Japan NGOs Network for International Cooperation (JANIC), North Eastern Society for Preservation of Nature and Wildlife (NESPON, India) etc . This helps to create an enabling environment for community people to place their demand to concerned authorities in order to secure the rights to land and livelihood of affected community.