Sunday, July 15, 2007

Penans want Sarawak to protect their native customary land

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The Penans, among the last nomadic hunter-gatherers in the world, want the Sarawak government to recognise and protect their native customary land from logging and plantation activities.

The Sarawak Penan Association urged the government to delineate the Penans’ native customary land boundaries, revoke timber licences that overlap onto their land, stop issuing provisional leases for plantations and halt all logging and plantation development activities on their land.

Its president Ajang Kiew said logging activities had been going on in Penan-inhabited areas in Apoh-Tutoh, Baram, since the 1970s.

“The extensive logging of the forest on our native customary land has resulted in the degradation of the environment.

“Severe pollution and siltation of our rivers has led to flooding and scarce fish population. Wild animals are depleted,” he told a press conference here yesterday.

The Penans in Borneo were originally nomadic and so do not enjoy the same native customary rights over the land as the more settled tribes.

Around 10,000 Penans living in the Apoh-Tutoh area, including some 1,000 who were still nomadic. Link, Images




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