Campaign Corner: A selection of press releases and short stories highlighting the various campaigns going on in Malaysia.

Joint Statement on Human Rights Day - Respect The Affected Natives and Peoples Of Sarawak's Rights

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Date: 10.12.14

Dato Sri Mohammed Najib bin Abdul Razak
Office of the Prime Minister Main Block,
Perdana Putra Building
Federal Government Administrative Centre
62502 Putrajaya, Malaysia
Via facsimile: +60-3-8888-3444
Via E-mail: [email protected]

YAB Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Haji Adenan Bin Haji Satem
Chief Minister of Sarawak

Dear YAB,

Re: Respect The Affected Natives and Peoples Of Sarawak’s Rights

We are writing on the occasion of International Human Rights Day on 10th December 20l4 to demonstrate our collective outrage at the dispossession of the affected peoples of Sarawak and Indigenous Peoples’ customary lands and forcible displacement of their communities within the Sarawak due to the development of plantations, logging, mining, development of dams and other commercial developments under the auspices of both public and private firms.

2. We are calling on you to exert your influence over public sector entities along with Sarawak and foreign companies operating locally to hold them accountable to the provisions of the Federal Constitution, with special attention to Articles 5, 8, 9, 13, 153 and 161A, which outline the rights to property, life and equality before the law, and the safeguarding of natives interests and other peoples in Sarawak.

3. We also expect that you will take the international commitments made by Malaysia under the United Nations’Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, in particular, for indigenous peoples to participate in decisions affecting their rights, consulting and cooperating in good faith with indigenous people and obtaining their free and informed consent before approving projects affecting indigenous lands, prohibiting t}re removal of indigenous peoples from their lands without obtaining free, prior and informed consent, and ensuring remedies in the event of the confiscation, occupation, use or damage to the traditional lands.

We affirm it is within your purview to:

  • take immediate steps to repeal aII national and state-Ievel policies that contradict the above (including the issuing of provisional leases plantations, License For Planted forest, licenses for logging concession and authorising the extinguishment of Native Customary Right lands;
  • order a halt to commercial projects which do not have the free, prior and informed consent of affected indigenous people (including the proposed Baram Dam, Baleh Dam in Sarawak and other mega projects that affect the peoples of Sarawak include the natives rights directly;
  • return lands subject to customary rights that has already been acquired for proposed projects in which free, prior and informed consent of affected indigenous people has not been obtained;
  • exert influence to ensure full public disclosure and transparency of commercial project impact assessment studies and planning documents in languages of the locally affected population;
  • not tolerate any state complicity in harassing and persecuting of community leaders who are actively engaged in asserting their legal rights; and
  • order investigations of logging, plantation, mining and power companies associated with claims of corruption from affected indigenous people and other stakeholders.

We furthermore hold you responsible for duly implementing the recommendations made by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) National Inquiry into the Land Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2O13), including:

(a) recognising indigenous customary rights to land,
(b) remedying and redressing land loss, and
(c) addressing land development issues as well as future threats to customary Rights {NCR} land encroachment by respecting the right to free, prior and informed consent.

We look forward to hearing from you about the steps you are taking to address these issues of concern.

Yours Sincerely,

Abun Sui Anyit
Chairman of GASAK


1. Tan Sri Hasmy Agam, Chair, Human Rights Commission of Malaysia
2. Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed, Chief Commisioner, Malaysian Anti-Cormption Commission
3. Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Abdul Gani bin Patail, Attorney General
4. Mr. Torstein Dale Sjotveit, CEO, Sarawak Energy Berhad
5. Andrew Khoo, Orang Asli Rights and Human Rights Committee, Malaysian Bar Council
6. Victoria Tauli Corpuz, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples
7. Knel Sulyandziga, United Nations Working Group on the Issue of Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises
8. James Nugent, Director General, Southeast Asia Department, Asian Development Bank
9. Karnilla H. Kolshus, Head of Secretariat, OECD Guidelines
10. Multinational Enterprises National Contact Point for Norway

Joint Statement by:
(c) SILA
(d) SAVE Rivers
(e) BPAC

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