World Rainforest Movement

Sarawak: violence against natives continues

Once again Sarawak natives have been victims of violent actions from the Police: on June 25, 42 Dayak-Ibans -among them 9 women- were arrested at Miri, for resisting the oil palm plantation that is to be implemented within their customary land area. Some of them were even brutally harassed and assaulted by the Police, which caused them physical damages. The Police found it difficult to find any legal reason to accuse them. However, brought to court, the Magistrate ordered them to sign a bond of peace for six months. The Ibans refused to do so, arguing that they were just defending their customary land. So on June 27 they were sent to prison. Their appeals for medical treatment -both under remand and in prison- have been ignored.
Responding to the urgent call for action of the Borneo Resources Institute, to denounce this new abuse against the Dayak-Ibans people, the IS of the WRM sent faxes to the governments of Malaysia and Sarawak as well as to police and judicial authorities of the country, expressing our concern about these facts and claiming for justice to be done.
What follows is the letter written from prison by the detainees:

30th June 1997