Monday, November 30, 2009

Penan Declare 163,000 Hectare Area In Baram Their Peace Park

November 30, 2009

MIRI, Nov 30 (Bernama) -- A group of 200 Penan has declared 163,000 hectares of forest area in the Upper Baram as a Penan peace park, claimed a Swiss-based environmental movement, Bruno Manser Fund (BMF).

In an e-mail to Bernama here Monday, BMF claimed that a declaration ceremony took place at a remote village of Long Ajeng in Baram recently to endorse the creation of the park aimed at conserving the area, being the Penan's last remaining primeval forests, as a nature reserve.

"The Penan wish to develop tourism in their region and insist on the protection of their native customary rights," the statement added.

The statement quoted a Penan former penghulu, James Lalo Kesoh, as saying that his community still depended on the forests for their livelihood and they should needed to be preserved for future generations.

"Even though we have settled down and started life as farmers since the late 1950s, we still depend on the forests for our food supply, for raw materials such as rattan for handicrafts, for medicinal plants and for other jungle produce," he said.

Meanwhile, Long Ajeng headman Jawa Nyipa said they hoped the declaration would enable them to live peacefully with their neighbouring tribes and as "fully recognised Malaysian citizens."

"We call this park 'Peace Park' because peace is a very important concept in our culture," he added.

BMF said the proclamation of the new park marked the Penan's challenge to the Sarawak government which had earmarked the area for logging.


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