Monday, October 7, 2013

PKR: Suhakam must probe gunshot at Penan protest

9:56AM Oct 6, 2013 
The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) must probe plans to submerge Penan villages in Sarawak for a dam project and the manner in which the locals' protest was broken up with a fired shot, says PKR environmental bureau chief Lee Chean Chung.

"Suhakam should conduct investigations immediately on any violation of basic civil and human rights," said Lee in a statement yesterday.

NONELee, who is also Semambu state assemblyperson, said the police had acted partially when it brought guns to Ulu Murum and fired warning shots into the air to break up a Penan blockade.

"The police should honour and safeguard the civil rights of the Penan people to voice their protest and defend their homes," he said.

Lee said inspector general of police (IGP) Khalid Abu Bakar is ultimately responsible for the police's rough tactics including the arrests of the Penan community's protest leader.

NONEThe Penan community had erected blockades in a bid to prevent Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) from beginning impoundment work that will submerge at least seven of their villages, but was broken up on Wednesday.

"The Sarawak government needs to respect Penan people’s right to their lifestyle instead of forcing them to accept resettlement to unfamiliar land, which affects their livelihood.

"Such invasion of the Penan people’s home is gross negligence of human life and has violated the rights of the Penan people," said Lee (above).

The Sarawak government has offered the local community a resettlement and compensation plan but some locals are insisting that they will not abandon their ancestral land.

Lee urged the SEB, Sarawak government and the affected Penan villages to re enter negotiations.

~ Malaysiakini

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