Rumah Nor: A Land Rights Test for Malaysia
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Rumah Nor: A Land Rights Test for Malaysia

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John Ahni Schertow
 

In this video, an Iban Dayak community in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo describes ten years of struggle to protect their ancestral rainforests, using letter writing, blockades, community mapping and court action against Borneo Pulp and Paper and the Sarawak government.

In 2001, they won a landmark court case, where it was agreed that Rumah Nor did have a native customary land rights over their traditional territory (“pemakai menoa”) — including the “disputed area” which was being destroyed by Borneo Pulp Plantation, a subsidiary of Borneo Pulp & Paper and Asia Pulp & Paper.

Their victory was partially overturned in 2005 by the State Appeals Court, who said there was insufficient evidence to prove the “occupation of the disputed area”. Their rights over lands outside the area, however, continued to be acknowledged.

The community is appealing this decision in Federal Court. Once a decision is made, it will set an important precedent for hundreds of indigenous communities that are fighting for rights to their traditional lands.

This 27 minute film was produced by The Borneo Project and the community of Rumah Nor, Sebauh, Sekabai, Bintulu, Sarawak, Malaysia

If you would like to learn more about this issue, please visit The Borneo Project website, or see this article on ECOWorld

Rumah Nor: A Land Rights Test for Malaysia


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