Civil society groups have expressed outraged over the demolition of native houses in Sarawak at a time when they were still contesting a land dispute and had not received any eviction order.
We, the concerned civil society organisations (CSOs), having met and deliberated in Sibu on 23 January 2010 on the recent news of the demolition of houses belonging to the residents of Rumah Nor Anak Nyawai, Sungai Sekabai, Sebauh, Sarawak on the 19 January 2010, express utter outrage and deep concern on the blatant disregard of the communities’ customary rights and their right to shelter.
The actions of Tatau Land Sendirian Berhad, a subsidiary of the ASSAR Group, and their agents, together with the authorities, were uncalled for since the residents of Rumah Nor are still contesting the land dispute claim over the area.
The comment made by the Superintendent of Land and Survey Department, Bintulu laying the blame on the lawyer for not informing his clients on the eviction order was false. The fact was, the lawyer representing the residents has yet to receive any eviction order from the court.
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There was also no notice given to the residents. The residents’ were only informed about the eviction order after the demolition was done. Furthermore, the residents have since appealed the decision and the case is still pending.
We demand that:
Tatau Land Sendirian Berhad and its agents withdraw from the area and refrain from further actions that will aggravate the situation;
The authorities must immediately stop their harassment and intimidation on the communities affected;
The authorities must uphold the rights of the indigenous peoples, including rights to their land, territories and resources, the principle of free, prior informed consent, the principle of natural justice as in accordance with the national legislations and international human rights instruments including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), ILO Convention No. 169 and the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD);
The company must respect the rights of the indigenous peoples and also the due process of law in this case; and
Adequate compensation be paid to the families of the houses and properties destroyed during the demolition
This statement is endorsed by:
Borneo Resources Institute, Malaysia (BRIMAS)
Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA)
Sarawak Indigenous Lawyers Alliance (SILA)
Persatuan Wanita Desa Sarawak (WADESA)
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM), Marudi Office
Institute for Development of Alternative Living (IDEAL)
Jaringan Tanah Hak Adat Bangsa Asal Sarawak (TAHABAS)
Community Information and Communications Centre (CICOM)
Building Indigenous Initiatives and Heritage (BiiH)
Melikin-Bukar-Sadong Association (Mebusa)
Native Rights Action Force (Natraf)
Sarawak Conservation Action Netwrok (SCANE)
Persatuan Rumah Panjang Rantau-Tapu (RATA)
Sabah and Peninsular CSOs
Centre for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC)
Writer Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)
Civil Society Initiative for Parliamentary Reform (CSI@Parliament)
Aliran Kesedaran Negara (ALIRAN)
National and Regional Networks
Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS)
Non-Timber Forest Products Exchange Programme (NTFP-EP)
Malaysian Election Observation Network (MEO-Net)
Rainforest Foundation, Norway (RFN)
The Borneo Project, US