Stop logging the Temiar people’s ancestral forest!

Indigenous people blocking a logging road in western Malaysia Indigenous people blocking a logging road in western Malaysia (© Freunde der Naturvölker)

Loggers are destroying precious forests in the Malaysian province of Kelantan. The indigenous Temiar have built barricades to protect their land against further plunder, but the government is violently repressing their peaceful protest. Please show your solidarity with the Temiar by signing our petition.

Call to action

To: the government of Malaysia and the state of Kelantan

Loggers are destroying precious forests in Kelantan. Stop the looting of nature and the assault on the Temiar people’s ancestral home.

Read letter

The rolling hills of northern Malaysia are carpeted by dense rainforest – the home of the Temiar people. But in the state of Kelantan, a struggle for land has erupted that is threatening the rainforest, and with it the livelihoods and culture of its indigenous people. Loggers are penetrating ever deeper into Balah Forest Reserve, without regard for the Temiar, who have lived there for countless generations. The government is also trampling the traditional rights of the indigenous people by granting logging concessions on their land. More than half of the forests of Kelantan have already been destroyed.

The Temiar are resisting the invasion and guarding their land. They are building barricades, roadblocks and huts and hanging up banners. Hundreds of men, women and children are joined together in protest at the checkpoints and letting only locals through. At the roadblock in Simpang Petei, the Temiar have stopped vehicles from transporting 300 tons of logs out of the forest.

The government is reacting with a show of force. Barricades have been cleared repeatedly and dozens of protesters arrested. Warning shots have reportedly been fired and barricades torched. During the most recent police action in January, two journalists from Channel NewsAsia were detained and reportedly threatened by forestry officials.

The study An Insight to the Kelantan Timber Industry describes the logging industry as rife with corruption. The process of awarding concessions is completely opaque and logging companies operate with impunity.

The Temiar will not be driven away: losing their land would spell the end of their culture. They are charting their land, suing for formal land titles and obstructing the loggers wherever they can.

Please sign our petition and lend your voice to the struggle of the Temiar.

Back­ground

Hintergrund:

Further information:

Audio: http://www.bfm.my/siti-zabedah-sophine-tann-temiar-community-and-the-forest.html

Video: http://www.thestartv.com/episode/orang-asli-group-wants-mb-to-meet-them-over-land-issue/

A consequence of cleared forests: massive flooding

Conservationists see the destruction of the forest as a major factor in the devastating floods of 2014 that killed 21 and made 200,000 homeless. Without the forest cover that normally captures and stores a vast amount of rainwater, torrential rains flowed freely down the hillsides.

Letter

To: the government of Malaysia and the state of Kelantan

Dear Md Anizam Ab Rahman,
Dear Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am concerned and angered by the support that the government of Kelantan is giving logging companies in their ongoing destruction of the state’s rainforests for the sake of profit. The forest has been the home of the Temiar Orang Asli for many generations.

More than half of the rainforest area of Kelantan has already been cleared and replaced by oil palm and rubber plantations. Neither indigenous people nor animals can survive in such monocultures.

The destruction of rainforests for quick profit will have disastrous consequences for Kelantan, Malaysia and the planet in the long run. Furthermore, it spells the end of the culture of the Temiar Orang Asli, who have no choice but to watch the destruction of their ancestral land.

I strongly urge you to stop this assault on on the forest, animals and the rights of the Temiar.

Sincerely,

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