In recent days, Bob Brown Foundation has received news from the Malaysian state of Sarawak that eleven indigenous community members were detained for six days after their village’s water source was destroyed by companies owned by logging giant Ta Ann and police brutally dismantled their peaceful blockade. The eleven were released on bail yesterday.
“Our protest today outside Ta Ann’s Hobart offices is in support of the Iban people of Sarawak and a reminder to Ta Ann that they will not be allowed to get away with this cruel suppression of indigenous forest campaigners,” Bob Brown said.
“Ta Ann Tasmania is now the biggest logging company on our island, receiving timber from highly contentious areas like takayna / Tarkine, Lapoinya and other native forests across the state, including Swift Parrot habitat.”
“We will hold Ta Ann to account for its actions affecting the people, the forests and the environment of Sarawak and Tasmania,” Bob Brown said.
Three companies, all subsidiaries of Ta Ann, have been working around the Ulu Kelawit-Tatau in Sarawak since 2012. The oil palm companies, and the operations of a rock quarry, have destroyed the Sungai Besangin, the local Iban people’s river source. The Iban say the water became poisonous and polluted and killed their paddy fields and crops. Then the river completely dried up. Through the loss of their water source, villagers have lost their livelihood as they are no longer able to grow crops or fish in the river.
The Iban set up a peaceful blockade in opposition to the rock quarry and oil palm operations. The Mukah police forcefully arrested 10 Iban men and 1 Iban woman during a raid in which they brutally burned the peaceful blockade, hit the women, burned their cultural artefacts, confiscated and burned their handphones, stole their property, and looted and destroyed their camp.
“Our foundation is making a stand in Hobart to tackle Ta Ann’s appalling record in Sarawak. We seek the company’s explanation of the raid on the Iban blockade by masked police, the violence to the Iban villagers and the subsequent jailings - coercive action to force the villagers to give up any hope of justice. I have written to Ta Ann’s CEO in Tasmania seeking explanations,” Brown said.
Jenny Weber 0427 366 929