The Save Sarawak’s Rivers Network (Save Rivers) gathered at the Miri Civic Centre today to witness the ongoing Suhakam National Public Inquiry on Land and at the same time to celebrate the International Day of Action for Rivers together with the international community around the world which falls tomorrow, March 14.
March 14 is the International Day of Action for Rivers and against dams. Every year, thousands of people around the world lift their voices to celebrate the world's rivers and those who struggle to protect them.
The International Day of Action for Rivers is a day to celebrate victories such as dam removal and river restoration. It is a day to take to the streets, demonstrate and demand improvements in the policies and practices of decision makers. It is a day to educate one another about the threats facing our rivers, and learn about better water and energy solutions.
According to Peter Kallang, chairman of Save Rivers, “In conjunction with International Day of Action for Rivers, we in Save Rivers would like to join in solidarity with all the communities affected by mega-dams development around the world to appeal to all governments and proponents of the mega-dams to respect human rights, especially the Indigenous Peoples rights, preserve the environment and the eco-system.”
Once again Save Rivers reiterate their demands to the government that:-
1. All proposed mega-dams to be built in Sarawak shall be immediately and permanently stopped.
2. All outstanding issues with regard to compensation or matters concerning any human rights for peoples affected by dams already constructed or under construction shall be solved immediately.
3. The people’s decision and their right to disagree for the dams to be built shall be respected and taken into account.
4. The government shall promote viable alternative energy generations which are environmentally friendly and renewable such as micro-hydro power system, solar energy, wind energy or biomass
5. All destructive activities within the water catchment areas of all the river systems in Sarawak shall be immediately and permanently stopped.
6. All dirty industries, like those under the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score) shall be immediately and permanently stopped.
7. After full and free consultation, referendum on the construction of the different dams’ constructions shall be conducted.
Mark Bujang is secretary of Save Rivers.