Friday, July 09, 2010

United Borneo natives demand justice and respect

Fri, 09 Jul 2010 10:46
By Roselind Jarrow

BAU: The Malaysian and Indonesian governments have been urged to ‘review all existing laws and regulations’ that undermine rights of Borneo’s indigenous peoples.

They were also asked to respect and recognise their rights to ensure the ‘full and effective participation’ of indigenous peoples in the respective countries' decision making process.

These were among the resolutions in the inaugural Krokong Declaration following a three-day Borneo Forests Conference attended by representatives from Sabah, Sarawak, West and East Kalimantan.

The conference was jointly organised by the Sarawak Dayak Iban Association, Borneo Resource Institute Malaysia, Building Initiative in Indigenous Heritage, Pascos Trust, Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara, Indonesia, and Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia.

The Krokong Declaration remindedto the two governments, who endorsed and adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), of their obligation to uphold the rights of the indigenous peoples.

It calls on the these two governments to:

Ensure the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples in all development policies, plans, assessments and implementation related to indigenous peoples subject to our Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).

Impose a moratorium on development projects that have been identified to be implemented and planned in our territories that have violated our rights and do not have our FPIC.

Review all existing laws and regulations that undermine our rights as indigenous peoples.

Urge the governments of Malaysia and Indonesia to stop and investigate all forms of violence against our people, arising from all the common issues below.
What's the Krokong Declaration says:

“We, the indigenous peoples of Borneo, have very distinct cultures and relations to our land, territories and resources.

“We strive to maintain these distinct values through our Adat and norms that have been passed down to us from our ancestors for generations.

“We have lived and nurtured our traditional knowledge, innovations and practices since time immemorial, making us the true custodians of our land, territories and resources.

“We, the indigenous peoples of Borneo have suffered social injustices resulting from the imposition of development aggression on our lands, territories and resources. All these have been done without our free, prior and informed consent (FPIC).

“We have not been included in the decision making processes, thus we continue to be marginalised and discriminated regardless of our basic human and customary rights to land, territories and resources, as stated in state, national and international laws.

“We call upon our governments, Malaysia and Indonesia, who adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to fully uphold the rights contained in the declaration.

“We, the indigenous peoples of Borneo declare our solidarity and unity in declaring the Krokong Declaration to be respected and recognised towards its implementation in Malaysia and Indonesia.

“We are further united by the common threats that face us; mega dam projects, mining and other extractive industries, oil palm plantations, deforestation and forest degradation, and climate change on our island of Borneo. We recognise that these threats are faced by indigenous peoples in Malaysia and Indonesia as well as around the world.

“In Borneo, the development of mega dams has displaced and resulted in involuntary forced resettlement of indigenous peoples, causing losses of our customary land and source of livelihood, identity and culture.

“It will also contribute to climate change because of the emission of methane and carbon dioxide from forest clearing and from flooding of reservoir. Water-borne diseases like Malaria and Chikungunya happen more often in areas that surrounds the dam.

“The expansion of oil palm plantations is escalating in alarming and unprecedented proportions that destroy our customary land, territories and resources. This trend brings grave concern to us because it has adversely affected our social culture and livelihoods and unjustly deprived us of the very source of sustenance.

“Additionally, extractive industries such as mining and logging continue to encroach into our ancestral domains which have resulted in land and environmental quality degradation that further impoverish our people. All the extractive industries have contributed to climate change by emitting green house gases (GHGs).

“We are also adversely affected by climate change. Our rivers and land are drying, frequent occurrences of flash floods, unpredictable weather patterns and seasons that threaten our food security.

“Climate change mitigation schemes such as REDD can create potential threats to the ownership of our forests and our rights.

“All of the common issues above have increased the violation of our human rights in the form of intimidation, wrongful detention, criminalisation, killings, deployment of gangsters and the use of para-military force against Indigenous Peoples.

“Likewise, our traditional values, institutions, governance system and knowledge as well as cultural heritage are being eroded as a result of these,” the declaration says.
It also pledges that they work together as one people and one Borneo to respond to these threats in a united and systematic manner that will ensure the survival and dignity of the indigenous peoples.

“We therefore, will work for the establishment of the Borneo Indigenous Peoples Alliance (BIPA) as the expression of our united stand for life and dignity.”
The Krokong Declaration will be submitted to Malaysia and Indonesia as well as to the state and provisional governments. A copy will also be handed to the United Nations.

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