Protests save UNESCO World Heritage forest

Penan and Berawan people resisting logging in Mulu forest, Sarawak, Malaysia Resistance by local people stopped the loggers (© Bruno Manser Fonds)

Sep 4, 2019

Staunch resistance by indigenous communities in Malaysia saved Mulu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, from destruction. A palm oil company that had intended to clear 4,400 hectares of forest backed down and withdrew its heavy machinery from the site.

According to the Bruno Manser Fund, a Swiss NGO active in the area, four bulldozers and four excavators were put on a barge and shipped down the Tutoh river. The indigenous Penan and Berawan people vehemently resisted the destruction of their ancestral forest by Radiant, a palm oil company, by physically standing in the way of the heavy machinery.

Mulu National Park is the only UNESCO World Heritage site in Sarawak.

Rainforest Rescue raised international awareness of the crisis and drummed up support for the indigenous people with a petition that has been signed by more than 210,000 supporters to date.

The conflict is not over yet: while the forest is safe, Radiant is now suing the indigenous communities for the equivalent of €24 million in damages. We are therefore leaving our petition up until the matter has been fully resolved – please sign the petition here.