This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
“Malaysian Students’ Response to Indigenous Minority Rights Violation and Environmental Degradation” A program by MALAYSIAN CATHOLIC STUDENT MOVEMENT PACOS Training Centre, Kg. Lomunu, Kibabaig, Penampang, Sabah, Malaysia th 18 June – 2nd July 2011 INTRODUCTION We, the 27 tertiary Catholic students from the various tertiary institutions of Malaysia, gathered at the PACOS Training Centre, Kg Lomunu, Kibabaig, Penampang, Sabah from the 18th of June till the 2nd of July 2011 to participate in the “School of Acting Justly, Loving Tenderly and Treading humbly with God (SALT) 2011” organised by Malaysian Catholic Students’ Movement (MCSM) in partnership with PACOS Trust. This is the fourth SALT organized since 2008. Besides focused learning related to the theme, “Malaysian Students’ Response to Indigenous Minority Rights Violation and Environmental Degradation” , SALT IV is a school with safe and critical space for effective networking, fostering a sense of teamwork, partnership and camaraderie among the participants. It is a process of mutual enrichment through information sharing, training on Native Customary Rights (NCR), the Federal Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the 20 Points Sabah Agreement through interactive learning especially by experiencing the reality of the KadazanDusun communities in Kampung Buayan and Kampung Terian situated in the area to be affected in the future by the construction of the Kaiduan Dam in Penampang. Below are the aims and objectives of the program which inspired us to participate actively. AIMS OF SALT IV 1. To study the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) regarding the standards and violations. Develop critical understandings and strategies to uphold fundamental human rights through effective advocacy at international, regional and grassroots levels. To create a platform for South-East Asian students to analyze the Human Rights conditions of the Indigenous Peoples in terms of Socio-political, economical, cultural, spiritual and religious perspectives. To develop critical understanding on the realities faced by the Indigenous People and to empower students to journey with the Indigenous People (IP). To evaluate the present efforts, plan further actions and campaign characterized by social reforms for the indigenous peoples against institutionalized discrimination at all levels. To create awareness about the link between the IPs and the environment, especially their contribution and efforts at arresting global climate change.
3. 4. 5.
OBJECTIVES 1. To enable our university students to understand the complex issues about the Native Customary Land Rights (NCR) in East Malaysia in relation to logging, market-oriented cash-crop plantations under the influence of neoliberal global capitalism; To arrive at a more critical understanding of the IPs struggle against the Kaiduan Dam and how “development” contributed to their poverty and marginalization; To respond in faith to the struggles of the IPs so that we are aware of our roles as university students through critical analysis and theological reflections.
To learn about the cultural traits of the community such as the traditional dance, traditional handicrafts, playing traditional musical instruments and traditional medicine.
OUR CRITICAL OBSERVATIONS The Kaiduan Dam is a project that is proposed to be built in Penampang which will directly affect nine Indigenous People’s Villages. The dam is to be built in order to meet the water supply demands of Kota Kinabalu and the surrounding area. Unfortunately, the processes that have taken place over the past few years by the relevant authorities are highly questionable as they do not follow principles of democracy and human rights standards. There are nine villages that will be affected by the building of the Kaiduan dam, which are Terian, Babagon Laut, Timpayasa, Tiku, Buayan, Pongobonon, Kalanggaan, Timpangoh and Longkogungan. Based on the observations in Kampung Buayan and Kampung Terian, there are various sources of economy of the communities; Self-sustenance, Natural resources, Subsidies, Government servants. All these are dependent on the land. The communities are also facing problems in developing their economic status because there is no proper road facility to commercialise their agricultural products. Besides that, their land and forest which is their main source of income is also threatened by the gazetting of Sabah Parks and the possible construction of the Kaiduan Dam. The villages have a systematic political structure which will also be affected by the relocation if the Kaiduan Dam is built. Currently, the decision maker is the Village Chief (Ketua Kampung). Other than that, there are also different organisations and leader, which are;- Jawatankuasa Kemajuan dan Keselamatan Kampung (JKKK), Pertubuhan Rakyat (PR), Cathecists, and the Action Committee Against Kaiduan Dam. Some of the main purposes of these organisations are to help the leaders to solve various issues and problems, besides becoming the channel for the villagers to unite and voice out their opinions, comments or problems. According to Native Customary Rights (NCR) related laws from the Sabah Land Ordinance, Chapter 68, and Section 15- Indigenous People have the rights on their land if the land is a cultural/heritage land. Cultural/ heritage land can be determined by using certain characteristics, such as there must be at least 50 planted trees which aged more than 3 years on the land. Section 14- Claiming Cultural/Heritage Land should be written by the Chief of the village or Penolong Pemungut Hasil Tanah (PPHT) and the PPHT will decide the ownership of the land. Moreover, with referral to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP);i. The rights to the land of the Indigenous People at Kampung Buayan and Kampung Terian will be violated if the construction the dam takes place. The articles in the UNDRIP can be used as guidelines to defend the rights of Indigenous People. The objections that have been made by the representative of the Action Committee Against Kaiduan Dam, Mr. Nousi Giun was ignored by the state and local government (violation of Article 23 of UNDRIP). In deciding the implementation of the Kaiduan Dam the government has failed to fulfil its commitments towards the UNDRIP which asserts the rights of Indigenous People to determine their own development or use their lands and resources and that they should not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories without their own free, prior and informed consent (violation of Article 10 and 32).
According to the 20 Points Sabah Agreement, issues of land and forest come under the jurisdiction of the state and not the federal government, and hence it becomes the responsibility of the state to ensure the land of the Indigenous People are protected.
According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 7 states that all are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination. Thus, the government should protect the rights of the Indigenous People despite them being marginalized by the society. Furthermore, Article 5(1) of the Federal Constitution states: no person should be deprived of his life or personal liberty save in accordance with law. Since “land is life” for the Indigenous People, their lives will be in danger if their land is taken away. Article 8(2) states: Except as expressly authorized by this Constitution, there shall be no discrimination against citizens on the ground only of religion, race, descent or place of birth in any law relating to acquisition, holding or disposition of property or the establishing or carrying on of any trade, business, profession, vocation or employment. Since the building of the dam will cause their land to be taken away from the Indigenous People, we are yet to see any just processes regarding the acquisition. There will also be environmental degradation with the construction of the Kaiduan Dam resulting in the forest and rivers being destroyed. We are strongly against the private companies who are involved in the dam construction for they are neglecting their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and actively violating the Native Customary Rights land in the name of development. The same applies to the banks and financial institutions that are funding this project. SALT 4 Theology: Our Faith Reflections We believe that our spirituality demands that we fight for the Indigenous People from oppression and suffering. We consciously advocate and take sides with the poor. This is our preferential option for the poor. We learned that the practices performed by shamans (Bobohizan) are actually different manifestations of the same God. Hence we must immediately stop the discriminatory and racist perspectives towards the Indigenous People spirituality. This is especially for Catholic/Christian missionaries who see the Indigenous People as empty vessel that need to be filled with the European ideology. Liberation theology and one of its references in the Bible (Mat 25: 31-46) says that as long as you help others in need, you will enter the kingdom of heaven. We studied the relationships between God, us, the villagers and the people affected as well as the politicians and private companies involved. We prayed for wisdom and strength for us to carry on the fight, for motivation, perseverance and faith for the people involved so that with God they will be saved from the threat of the dam, and for humility for the politicians and the private companies so that they will drop the plans for the dam, and leave these people in peace. We also pray that the spirit of God will help the Indigenous People fight injustice and be with them in their darkest times. We shall ensure that the Catholic Social Teachings and the radical life of Jesus are used to inspire all of us to join in the struggle.
RECOMMENDATIONS TO VARIOUS ACTORS IN SOCIETY Through our experiences and learning, we demand the society: Campus Level (CSG, CUS, CSS, CVS) To conduct open forum and panel discussions on social awareness about the issues faced by IPs, in order to generate critical thinking among the students; To insert issues on the Dam project into campus level activities, to facilitate solution through formation; To strengthen the bond between members, EXCOs and etc. to ensure that the members would produce a collective voice to fight against the dam project. To form an advocacy group for Indigenous Peoples rights by indigenous students to be recognised by MCSM.
Church To guide the campus students in struggling for the rights of the Indigenous People by providing solid formation on the Catholic Social Teachings. This includes supporting students financially, giving opinions, motivating and other supports possible in the advocacy against the dam; The church leaders especially bishops and priests to be the prophetic voice and role models against oppression in the Kaiduan Dam issue.
The Sabah Government To stop the Kaiduan Dam project immediately; To solve the water problem in Kota Kinabalu through proper research and feasibility studies regarding the root cause of the problem. To respect and honour the Indigenous People’s Rights under the Law and Constitution such as NCR, UNDRIP and UDHR, for the sake of human person and peaceful life; To have a fair and just opinion collection and discussions to understand the real needs of the Indigenous People; To consider the relevant claims by the Action Committee Against Kaiduan Dam and thereafter protect the Indigenous People’s demands; To be transparent and “pro-citizens” especially towards the Indigenous People as stated in the government’s 1Malaysia slogan “Rakyat Didahulukan, Pencapaian Diutamakan ” (People First, Performance Now).
Opposition Parties To help in voicing out the citizen’s complaints especially the villagers that are affected by the dam project so as to work together and support the people; To campaign and spread the issues such as Kaiduan Dam and its effect on the environment. To keep “checks and balance” in society and country especially under the current ruling party.
Sabah Parks To help promote and lobby the Sabah Parks more effectively and wholly in Malaysia and throughout the world; To highlight and promote laws that protect nature and ensure legal actions is taken towards those who violate those laws; To promote the Salt Trail as one of the tourist attractions in order to safeguard the surrounding area which includes the nine villages to be affected. To offer more job opportunities to the villagers as they have the knowledge on the land and jungle, and can help protect the forest. To make a clear and sharp stand to reject the Kaiduan Dam.
Mass Media (TV, Radio, Internet, Newspapers, Academic Magazine) To air the information regarding Kaiduan Dam issues in order to oppose the idea, through: TV, radio, internet, etc to make it widely know, and revealing the positive and negative effects. In order to make the issue known and gain collective response to solve this matter; To spread information without being biased and to use accurate data in presenting the information; To be responsible in giving information regarding UNDRIP to the society, especially to the Indigenous People to educate them on their rights;
To be alert and updated on any new information and developments concerning the Kaiduan Dam to help spread these new information; To show more concern towards the Indigenous people’s right and not take advantage/sensationalise their struggles.
Malaysian Citizens To ensure every Malaysian is involved in the campaign to stop the Kaiduan Dam because all are affected by this project; To educate citizens on their rights and responsibilities to reject projects that cause environmental degradation.
Non Government Organisation (NGO) We strongly hope NGOs will continue to support the struggles of the Indigenous People and the marginalized to strengthen their organization’s mission especially the Pertubuhan Rakyat in the affected villages such as Terian and Buayan; We also hope NGOs will continue to empower indigenous students and youths with knowledge and skills related to Human Rights and Citizenship; To continue the advocacy and the network building to stop the Kaiduan Dam; To host and recruit students and youth into their organizations in order to increase the number of activists, particularly from the Indigenous People community; To produce more creative materials/media which will be used to deliver complex legal and human right documents to grass root community in simple forms; To be the mediator and facilitator between marginalized community and the powerful authorities.
UNITED NATION To put pressure on the government of Malaysia to stop the Kaiduan Dam since we have signed the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples ; To send special rapporteur on the rights of the indigenous people to Sabah to investigate all the human rights violations faced by the Indigenous People. To send professionals such as scientists and environmentalist in remote sensing, geophysics, earth science, engineering to re-evaluate and re-do the EIA on the Kaiduan Dam project including feasibility studies of the “potential” dam location, to search for alternatives for solving the current water crisis. To form a team to do research on a suitable place to build a dam. To plead on behalf of the indigenous people for the financial institutions not to fund the Kaiduan Dam project.
SALT IV 2011 Declaration on the Indigenous Peoples in Malaysia Last but not least, we, the members of the School of Acting Justly, Loving Tenderly and Treading Humbly with God (SALT IV) 2011, hereby declare to uphold the dignity and rights of the marginalized indigenous peoples through our actions of raising their issues and work with them at various levels. Since Malaysia is a signatory of the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), we demand the government, specifically the state government of Sabah to implement and honour the UNDRIP, Native Customary Rights (NCR) status and uphold principles of the UDHR in terms of the protection of Indigenous people lands, cultures, customs and way of life. As human beings, they are to be treated fairly and justly. Hence, the Kaiduan Dam project must be put on hold immediately pending legitimate processes.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.