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Help indigenous people assert their land rights

Indigenous man in Kelantan rainforest The remote region of Pahang is covered in lush rainforest. (© Freunde der Naturvölker) Indigenous people protesting in front of logs from felled rainforest trees Protesting at the scene of the crime (© Freunde der Naturvölker) Indigenous people blocking a logging road in western Malaysia Indigenous people blocking the access to their land (© Freunde der Naturvölker) Indigenous people blocking a road in Kelantan The protesters have been standing their ground for weeks. (© Freunde der Naturvölker) Villagers in Pahang, Malaysia, learn how to chart their land Shafie (in green shirt) talking to villagers (© Freunde der naturvölker)

Indigenous people in western Malaysia are setting up roadblocks, gathering video evidence against loggers and plantation companies, and using GPS devices to chart their ancestral land and assert their land rights.

Shafie Dris and Jef Yangman have years of experience in fighting for their people’s homeland in Malaysia’s Pahang sultanate. The two activists are at the scene whenever loggers or plantation companies encroach on the Temiar people’s ancestral forests.

Shafie is often the first contact for villagers in the remote region. He organizes the resistance on the ground, for example in Pos Tohoi, where resolute indigenous people are standing firm at a roadblock to defend their land. Shafie is training the villagers to document land grabbing and environmental destruction in videos.

His friend Jef Yangman knows the region like the back of his hand. Since 2008, he has been traveling from village to village, creating maps using GPS data to stake out the traditional land of the indigenous people. They can then sue for formal land rights on the basis of such maps. Jef also holds workshops to educate villagers about their rights.

Jef has already mapped the land of 53 villages, and scores of settlements are still to be done. Producing maps is not his first line of work, however: “I have to look after my fields now – I make my living selling vegetables,” Jef writes apologetically in an email.

Please support Jef and Shafie in defending nature and their people’s land against loggers and plantation companies.

  • €20 will cover the room and board of a mapping workshop participant for three days.
  • For €50, Jef can travel to a village up to 300 kilometers away to document environmental destruction in its vicinity.
  • €70 covers the cost of a tablet computer with which villagers can post evidence of environmental destruction online.

Please give generously – every donation helps the Temiar people protect their land and livelihoods.

Watch the Temiar people take action against loggers:

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