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Orang Asal Celebrate the United Nations’DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS

Posted by mayashanti5282046 于 十一月 21, 2008

Orang Asal Celebrate the United Nations’



and call for its local application

CN/COAC | 19 September 2008
Untuk lapuran dalam Bahasa Malaysia, sila klik di sini.

The national workshop and exhibition on the ‘Strife of the Orang Asal’ was held from 9-13 September 2008 at the Annexe Gallery, Central Market, KL, with the theme ‘Celebrating the Adoption of UN-DRIP at the international level, Calling for its application at the local level’.

It was the third stage in the year-long programme of the Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (Indigenous Peoples Network of Malaysia, or JOAS) to make the indigenous communities aware of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN-DRIP) and to get the government to apply it. After all, the government fully supported it when it went for a vote at the UN General Assembly exactly a year ago, on 13 September 2007.

Orang Asal researchers from Pacos, Brimas, Sadia and COAC were involved in the first phase: gap analysis research on the application of UN-DRIP at the local level. The findings were then presented to regional workshops held simultaneously in Bidor (Perak), Penampang (Sabah) and in Kuching (Sarawak) on 9 August 2008, which coincided with World Indigenous Peoples Day.

The national workshop in Kuala Lumpur was to collate feedback from all the regional workshops and come up with a common national Orang Asal demand which was to be submitted to the Yang DiPertuan Agung, the King.

Why the King? Partly because all other avenues for bringing up Orang Asal grievances in the past had not been successful — including dialogues, protests, seminars and court cases. And partly to remind our sovereigns that Orang Asal support in the past was what allowed them to set up their sultanates. But more importantly, what the Orang Asal sought was publicity of the issues they face, and to get the Malaysian government to keep its commitment to the UN-DRIP.

Following the opening rituals and blessings from traditional spiritual leaders from the three regions, the workshop was launched by Suhakam Commissioner, Datuk Dr. Denison Jayasooria.

The organisers also took the opportunity to inform and remind the participants of the conferment of the Asian Indigenous Human Rights Defender Award on TK Kelesau Naan, the Penan headman of Long Kerong who was believed killed for his successful anti-logging stand.

Then followed two days of intensive reporting and discussions by the 120 representatives from Orang Asal organisations and communities. These were put into a 9-page memorandum that was to be submitted to the King.

The memorandum highlighted the plight of the indigenous peoples of Malaysia and showed that this happened largely because the articles of the UN-DRIP were not complied with.

The main issues resolved around the right to self-determination and the right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) — which gave rise to increasing encroachments onto native customary rights land, economic marginalisation, and pressures to assimilate.

Alas, as reported on this portal, the police thwarted our plans and the memorandum was not delivered.

Nevertheless, this did not dampen the mood of the participants. On the contrary it further strengthened the resolve of JOAS to continue with the rest of the year-long programme to highlight the principles and articles of UN-DRIP and to get the government to keep its word.

All things said, the national workshop has been a tremendous boost for forging solidarity and identity among the indigenous communities of Malaysia. For one, given their similarities of culture, situation and aspiration, the term Orang Asal has been widely accepted by the indigenous communities of Sabah, Sarawak and Semenanjung as their common identity.

The Perjuangan Orang Asal signature song and video was also launched which became an immediate hit with the participants and others who had a chance to view it or hear the song as it was sung during the protest march.

The events in Kuala Lumpur were another important milestone in the making of an Orang Asal bangsa where communal specificity and social solidarity blended and flourished. This was clearly manifested in the closing party where unique indigenous dances were spontaneously accepted and adapted to other indigenous traditions.

JOAS, the Indigenous Peoples Network of Malaysia is here to stay.

Workshop and Exhibition pictures by Colin Nicholas & Puah Sze Ning.



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