Penan defy police with more blockades


Five new blockades have been set up by Penan tribal communities in the Malaysian province of Sarawak in an attempt to stop loggers destroying their forest homes.

On April 4th 2007 officers of the Sarawak Forestry Corporation, supported by the police, dismantled another Penan blockade for the second time this year. The police used chainsaws to destroy the blockades and fired gun shots to intimidate the Penan.

Four Penan villages and one nomadic group recently set up the five new blockades, in protest at the logging companies Rimbunan Hijau, KTS Logging and Samling. Police are reportedly already heading towards one of the blockades, which is on a main logging route and used by a number of different companies. Survival is concerned for the safety of the Penan at the blockade sites.

Much of the Penan's forest has already been destroyed. According to Malaysian and international law the Penan have rights to their land and should be consulted before any logging can proceed, but these rights are openly violated.

In areas where the forest has already been destroyed by logging, licences for plantations are now being granted, stripping the Penan, and other tribes in Sarawak, of their land rights forever. 

To write in support of the Penan, click here.