New Documentary on Coal and Human Rights in the Global South

By Krizna Gomez*


“Promises of Lavender” explores the stories of individuals and communities affected by coal in India, Colombia, South Africa and Egypt, with a focus on the violations of their rights by the industry.


From the attempts against the life of a lawyer suing a coal company, the forced displacement of an Afro-Colombian community by a coal mine, the fears of an Egyptian activist about the unregulated entry of coal into his country, and the struggles of a Dalit woman regarding the health impacts of coal mining on her children, it explores the human face of coal development beyond the environment–including that of workers who suppoedly benefits the most from the industry.

In Arbor, a community in Mpumalanga, South Africa, a coal company failed to deliver on its promises of water, electricity and livelihood programs. Five people were lucky enough to be hired to grow lavender to make perfume. Today, all of these lavenders have all but died.

Is coal cheap? Has it fulfilled its promises of development to communities whose lives it has entered into? What has it cost already marginalized communities who can no longer dream in their homes?

Learn more about the project at


*Krizna Gomez is a researcher at the Center for the Study of Law, Justice, and Society (Dejusticia).