Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Penan score victory as logging road blockades halt timber giant's encroachment on their rainforests

Defiant forest communities announce they will continue to fight the Samling corporation's activities within the "Penan Peace Park" on Borneo

LONG SABAI, SARAWAK / MALAYSIA. Two logging road blockades erected by Penan communities have caused a Malaysian timber giant, Samling, to withdraw its bulldozers from the Penan's rainforests on the upper reaches of the Akah river in Malaysian Borneo.

The blockades had been erected in March 2010 near the villages of Long Sabai and Ba Kerameu at two strategic locations. The communities had announced that the Penan were willing to fight for the conservation of their last virgin jungle.

According to Penan sources, the blockades have caused the Samling corporation to withdraw its bulldozers from the disputed community lands of Long Sabai and Ba Kerameu. The two communities are part of the Penan Peace Park, a self-administered 163,000 hectare nature reserve launched in November 2009.

However, the Penan are reporting that Samling continues to trespass on their lands in other regions. Two written warnings have been issued against Samling subsidiary Jerinai to stop logging in the Ba Jawi watershed, a high conservation value rainforest near the Indonesian border. Furthermore, the company has recently taken up helicopter logging within within the communal boundaries of Long Ajeng in the Upper Baram region.

Samling is a Hong Kong-listed timber giant with its operational headquarters in Miri, Sarawak. The corporation has a track record of environmentally destructive and illegal logging in a number of countries, including Cambodia, Guyana, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. Its principal bankers include the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) as well as The Bank of Tokyo - Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd.

-ENDS-
For more information, please contact us:
Bruno Manser Fund, Socinstrasse 37, 4051 Basel / Switzerland
Tel. +41 61 261 94 74
Pictures 1 to 3: Penan blockade near the village of Long Sabai on the Upper reaches of the Akah river in Sarawak, East Malaysia (April 2010). (Copyright: Bruno Manser Fund)

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