Borneo tribe resists rainforest destruction with blockade

By agency reporter
July 8, 2010

Nomadic tribespeople in Borneo are blockading a road to stop loggers destroying their rainforest, reports the indigenous rights group, Survival International.

Members of the Penan tribe have mounted the blockade in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, to stop the destruction of the forests upon which they depend for their survival.

A Malaysian timber company, Lee Ling, is logging in the area and there are plans to clear the Penan’s forests completely to establish plantations of fast-growing trees for paper production.

The Penan say the plantations will leave them with nothing. They live by hunting, gathering and fishing, and will have nowhere to find food if the forests are chopped down.

Penan protesting at the blockade in northern Sarawak say they have experienced a violent attack by a logger. They are also going hungry, because manning the blockade means they are unable to spend time finding food.

The protestors include nomadic Penan, and those living in settled villages.

One Penan man told Survival International: "We can’t live in a plantation environment. It is like asking fish to live on the land."

Survival’s director Stephen Corry commented: "How many more Penan protests, and how much more intimidation by the loggers, will we see before Malaysia recognises that this land belongs to the Penan?"


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