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Asian Human Rights Commission wrote:
> AHRC UA970325 [Sarawak,  East Malaysia]
> March 13, 1997
> Four Penans were arrested by the Malaysian police field force while
> negotiating with the logging company, Samling, near their village at Long
> Kerong, Sarawak, East Malaysia. One of the arrested, Jagain Jalong, was
> brutally beaten and suffered a bleeding nose. The arrested were escorted
> to Miri Divisional police station for two nights and were then sent to the
> Marudi district police station and remanded under the Penal Code 117, for
> theft and mischief, until 21 March. They were then charged for illegal a
> ssembly instead of the earlier charges of the Miri police that they were
> involved in destroying the logging company's truck.
> March 21, 1997
> As soon as the four Penans were bailed out at the magistrate court in
> Marudi, they were rearrested by the Pasukan Polis Hutan (PPH), at Ba
> Segita, Selungoh, Baram area, Miri, suspected of stealing a chainsaw from
> the logging company. Relatives and communi ty heads denied that they were
> involved in any of the mischiefs of which they were accused by the police.
> The relatives as well as their lawyer have requested the police to allow
> medical treatment for the detainees. They were beaten and wounded during
> th eir detention at Ulu Baram. The names of the four rearrested Penans
> are:
> 1. Pusu Bujang, about 30 years old, from Long Benali,
> 2. Jangin Jalong, about 30 years old, from Long Benali,
> 3. Wan Musong, about 40 years old, from Long Sait,
> 4.  Beripin Wan, about 20 years old, from  Long Sai
> The 37 indigenous tribes make up more than half of the population in
> Sarawak. The Penans (about 10,000 persons) are about 0.5 % of the total
> population. All these indigenous tribes are practising their own customary
> laws, including rights on their ancestr al territories, which include
> longhouses or residing places; the forest within their boundary; secondary
> forest (or fallow farm land); cultivated farms and rivers where fish are
> obtained for food.
> The land and forests are the sources of the indigenous peoples'
> livelihood. They clear a portion of land for farming for a period of time
> and later leave it as fallow for nutrients to be restored. The land and
> forests are also the roots of their cultures and spirituality. The rivers
> supply them with water and fish.The forests supply them with animals,
> vegetables, fruits and herbal medicines.
> The Penan tribe is one of the victims of logging
> The 1958 Sarawak Land Code and the 1953 Sarawak Forest Ordinance had
> clauses that recognized Native Customary Rights (NCR] but the authorities
> do not respect these rights. As the NCR is ignored, cases of conflicts and
> disputes between logging companies an d the tribal peoples continue. Since
> 1980, many indigenous communities often discover their ancestral
> territories being invaded by bull-dozers of the logging companies which
> hold licences from the authority to encroach into their land.
> The Penan communities (especially those of the Ulu Baram areas) were
> forced to take actions to defend their customary rights. Since 1987,
> irrespective of being young or old, men or women, the affected communities
> have repeatedly barricaded logging roads t o to defend their land and
> livelihood.
> However, their peaceful protest actions were suppressed. The authorities
> sent police field forces, soldiers and Forest Officers to forcefully
> dismantle their barricades and disperse the peoples. All these militarized
> actions have further pushed the affect ed peoples into greater despair.
> Commercial Logging on their NCR Lands
> Extensive commercial logging into the interior rainforests of Sarawak
> started in the mid 1970s. The logging concessions and license given by the
> government to log these rainforests have brought great wealth to the
> timber tycoons. The timber industry has b ecome one of the main sources of
> income for the State. Since 1990, the income from the timber industry is
> about 30% of the Sarawak total income.
> By 1985, almost 30 % of Sarawak's forests had been logged and by 1984,
> permits/licences to the 62.1 % (3/5 of Sarawak's total forest area) of the
> forest area have already been issued. From 1990 to 1991, the annual log
> production was 18,000,000 cu.m. The total log production for 1995 was
> 16,500,000 cu.m. This amount is double the desired amount of 9,200,000
> cu.m suggested by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO).
> Commercial logging causes many environmental destructions and impairs the
> livelihood of those affected indigenous communities such as; water source
> being highly polluted by soil erosion and depletion of fish stock; habitat
> of wild animals being destroyed forcing them to migrates, thus diminishing
> the meat supply; destruction of plants and herbs which are being used as
> medicines;  and it also grossly violates their Native Customary Rights.
> Please write polite letters and faxes asking the authorities concerned to
> provide medical attention to the detainees. Express your concern on why
> they were re-arrested on the same day they were bailed out. Express your
> concerns on the wellbeing of the Penan People and the violence inflicted
> on them. Request the immediate release of the four Penans re-arrested by
> the police. Call upon the government to investigate into and take action
> on police brutality.
> 1.  YAB Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud, Chief Minister of
> Sarawak. Fax: 082-245 522
> 2.  Inspector General of Police: Fax: 03-291 070
> 3.  Ibu Pejabat Contingen (IPK) Sarawak: Fax: 082-245 522
> 4.  Chief Police Officer, Miri Police Station: Fax: 085-437 720
> 5.  and to diplomatic respresentative of Malaysia accredited to your
> country.
> Sincerely Yours,
> Samydorai
> Programme Officer
> Asian Human Rights Commission