Penan mount logging road blockade

October 8, 2008

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Penan communities in Sarawak, Malaysia, have mounted a road blockade against the logging company Interhill in an attempt to stop the destruction of their last remaining rainforests.

The Penan organized the blockade after negotiations with Interhill’s representatives at the company's timber camp failed.

‘We are asking Interhill to respect our Native Customary Rights and to stop logging our remaining primary forests,’ a Penan spokesman said.

The blockade, in the Middle Baram area of Sarawak, is being organised by the Ba Abang, Long Item, Long Kawi and Long Pakan communities. A similar blockade was erected in the area in June 2006 but was dismantled by the police after two weeks.

The blockade comes shortly after Penan women raised a cry of alarm over cases of sexual abuse and violence by logging company workers in the region.

The Penan tribe are nomadic hunter-gatherers. Many now live in permanent settlements, but continue to rely on the forest for their existence.

Interhill is a Malaysian company, and has been logging primary rainforests in Sarawak since the 1970s.

Source: Bruno Manser Fund

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