UPHOLD THE NATIVE CUSTOMARY RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES OF SARAWAK!
RESIST ALL FORMS OF EXPLOITATION AND INDIGENOUS RIGHTS VIOLATIONS!
The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) congratulates the Indigenous Peoples (IP) of Sarawak for a successful protest action calling on their government to uphold and respect the Native Customary Rights (NCR) of Sarawak and resisting all attempts of resource plunder perpetuated by state and corporate actors.
On November 13, 2017, over 3,000 people of Sarawak staged a rally to denounce the recent Federal Court decision that favors various private companies to exploit their land resources at the expense of peoples’ welfare. The rally aimed at raising public awareness and consciousness of IP of Sarawak about their struggle to stop development projects that will push them further to the margins. Moreover, it sought to put pressure on their government to comply with Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and Article 13 and 161E of the Federal Constitution that provide inalienable rights for the IP of Sarawak.
Malaysia, a hotspot for plantation and hydroelectric power projects in the region, has been a target for more investments on extractives and energy projects within the ancestral lands of Sarawak natives. However, the right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) in the context of their right to self-determination is not guaranteed before any company enters their community. This has lead to conflict, displacement, and rights violations particularly to those who opposes the project. In fact, there were reports that companies hired private gangsters to attack Sarawak natives performing Iban rituals to summon the help of the gods to fight the companies.
Across the world, resource plunder and non-recognition of Indigenous rights have been becoming the norm. Many families in Indigenous communities in Cambodia were displaced due to systematic land grab scheme such as the economic land concession (ELC) and development projects like the Sesan II hydroelectric dam project. The Mapithel dam in Manipur has affected the livelihood of downstream and upstream communities as well as accessibility to water resource.
Amidst growing repression and exploitation, there is always a hope in peoples’ resistance. In Nigeria, the Ogoni community has risen against the attempt of the Federal Government of Nigeria, Shell, and the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) to resume its oil production in Ogoniland. The people of West Papua are advancing their struggle for self-determination and liberation.
Now more than ever, we shall continue to arouse, organize, and mobilize our ranks as we expand and broaden our fight for lands and resources among and between Indigenous Peoples. We must strengthen our international solidarity with all the oppressed peoples of the world.
The result of the protest of Sarawakians is a big step forward in building a stronger IP movement which shall be at the forefront of their struggle for lands, rights, and territories. Through collective struggle of Sarawakians, greater victories are possible! ###
Reference: Beverly Longid, Global Coordinator, email@example.com