12 September 2008
Police Denies Indigenous Peoples’ Right to Meet Agung
Kuala Lumpur – The planned handover of a memorandum on indigenous peoples’ rights was today dealt a minor setback when the police denied a permit for the Orang Asal (indigenous peoples) to walk to Royal Palace to meet DYMM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agung. This, despite the Palace permitting the handover of the memorandum to take place.
“We had previously been in touch with the police to inform them of our plans,” said Sean Rubis, JOAS coordinator, “and this afternoon they told us that they would not grant us a permit. We are currently appealing the decision as the Palace has promised to receive the memorandum.”
The participants, however, are determined to walk together as indigenous peoples and collectively present the King with the memorandum which calls for the government to implement the individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples as set out in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (DRIP). These rights include the right to self-determination, the right to recognition and control of customary land and resources, the right to self-governance and the rights to freedom of religion – rights that indigenous peoples across the nation have seen violated.
The march will go on as planned on 13 September 2008, at 10:00 am, starting from Jalan Ton Tan Cheng Loek, near Central Market.
The Indigenous Peoples Network of Malaysia (or Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia, JOAS) is the umbrella network for 21 organisations throughout Malaysia that represents different indigenous peoples’ organisations and communities. As the focal point for indigenous rights and advocacy in Malaysia, JOAS provides the indigenous communities with representation nationally, regionally and internationally.
The Orang Asal or indigenous peoples of Malaysia consist of more than 80 ethno-linguistic groups, each with its own culture, language and territory that number about 4 million, or about 15 per cent of the national population. Orang Asal of Malaysia remain among the poorest groups in the nation, a manifestation of our marginalisation and disenfranchment from the mainstream society on account of the non-recognition of our rights as contained in both national and international customary law.
For more information please contact: Jennifer Rubis at firstname.lastname@example.org