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GOVT REPORT CONFIRMS PENAN GIRLS WERE RAPED
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Quote:
9/09/09
Keruah Usit

The government has made public a shocking report on sexual abuse of Penan girls and women by logging camp workers in Baram, Sarawak.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil yielded to pressure from civil society groups to investigate the claims.

The report was handed over to PKR women's chief Zuraida Kamaruddin on Sept 8, almost a year after media accounts of rape of Penan girls by loggers first appeared.

The report lists at least eight cases of sexual abuse of Penan girls and women by logging camp workers. The report said several of the victims were schoolgirls as young as 10.

Local NGOs claim these documented cases were only a small fraction of the total number of cases of sexual abuse.

The ministry's National Action Committee was commissioned by the cabinet on Oct 8 last year, to investigate the claims.

The ministry's team visited Long Item, Long Kawi, Long Luteng, Long Belok, Kampung Ugos, Jambatan Suai, Niah between Nov 10 and 15 last year.

Shahrizat's predecessor, Ng Yen Yen, had promised a transparent investigation. The team was led by director-general of the Department of Women's Development, Dr Noorul Ainor Mohd Nor.

The team was made up of several federal ministries, Sarawak government agencies and NGOs, Women's Aid Organisation and Women's Centre for Change, Penang.

The team concluded that "allegations of sexual abuse of Penan girls and women by outsiders dealing with the Penan, including logging company workers and merchants, did indeed take place".

The protracted delay in releasing the report opened Shahrizat to accusations of trying to cover up the scandal which displeased powerful logging companies in Sarawak.

Shahrizat (right) had previously refused to comment on the delay and instead invited "interested parties" to view the report at her ministry's office in Putrajaya.

Fear of retaliation

The report said the girls' vulnerability, widespread poverty and "dependency on the logging companies for transportation into towns, including sending and ferrying of children to and from schools" was among the reasons for incidents of sexual abuse.

It also said poverty and lack of access to transportation have "prevented many residents from going into towns to register their children's births, and as a result many have no identity cards".

The team also found that access to healthcare and education is inadequate because of the long distances required to travel to schools and clinics.

Noorul's team interviewed two victims, Cindy and Bibi (not their real names). The two girls had travelled to Kuala Lumpur to make police reports at Bukit Aman.

Bibi told her interviewers that she had been raped on two occasions by Johnny (not his real name).

Bibi said she did not report the incident to the police because she was illiterate; furthermore, "she did not know how to make a report".

She did not tell her family who the rapist was because she was afraid of retaliation. She said Johnny had sent food to her family and claimed her as his wife.

But Bibi rejected him because she said, Johnny already has two wives, one of whom is a Penan.

Johnny was portrayed as a loving husband and father by reports in a local Sarawak newspaper, owned by a timber company.

Cindy said she was raped when she was 12 by an unidentified 'outsider', and then raped again years later by a logging camp worker. She bore a child as result of the second rape.

Sexual abuse 'common'

The girls were quoted in the report as saying that it is a regular and common occurrence for logging camp workers to sexually abuse girls who hitch rides to and from school.

One girl, aged 10, said she and her classmates were taken to some bushes when they hitched a ride on a logging truck to get home from school, and that the driver had attempted to rape her.

Other schoolgirls described how logging truck drivers forced schoolboys and other passengers off the vehicles, and made off with young girls.

The girls said they usually told their own families of the sexual abuse but not their teachers, because "they were afraid the teachers would accuse them of lying in order to avoid going to school".

The girls said they were afraid of being caned and punished if they reported the abuse to their teachers.

The report concluded that these communities reject such sexual violence.

However, it went on to say the Penan are vulnerable to such abuse because they are deprived of basic transportation and facilities such as healthcare, access to schools, water and electricity supply.

The Penan are also vulnerable because of prejudice against them, and a lack of trust in government authorities, according to the report.

Neither the Sarawak police nor Bukit Aman have mounted a credible investigation into the government's own findings.

Source

Posted on: 2009/9/9 14:17
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Re: GOVT REPORT CONFIRMS PENAN GIRLS WERE RAPED
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Updated news.
Makes me sad that it seems Malaysia is a breeding ground for paedophiles, rapist, and even incest! Only in Malaysia do i keep reading news like this everyday. Back in New Zealand, whenever news broke out of a minor being raped or incest, the sh*t always hits the fan!!!


Quote:
Sexual abuse report 'incomplete'
Rahmah Ghazali

Sep 9, 09
4:04pm

PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin today fired criticism at the sexual abuse report (released by the government yesterday) on the rape of Penan girls by loggers, describing it as an "incomplete report".

The government has yesterday made public a shocking report on the sexual abuse of Penan girls and women by logging camp workers in Baram, Sarawak.

The report was handed over to PKR women's chief Zuraida Kamaruddin (left), on Sept 8, almost a year after media accounts of rape of Penan girls by loggers first appeared.

Based on the report received, Zuraida said the report failed to mention specific measures in curbing rape cases and sexual abuse towards the Penan women, teenagers and little girls.

"The report also failed to mention the specific roles the Sarawak police should play in order to further prevent this sexual abuse on the Penan girls," said Zuraida in a statement, who is also Ampang MP.

According to her, the situation has deteriorated as the police force in Sarawak have not been serious and diligent enough in curbing such crime.

"Even the statement made by Crime Department Chief ACP Huzir Mohamad which mentioned that the Sarawak police force is not duty-bound to investigate the allegations on the sexual abuse, is also disappointing.

"Although Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan had in January this year promised the Penan Support Group that it would investigate the matter with the help of the NGOs, until now there has been no action taken against the perpetrators," she added.

The report lists at least eight cases of sexual abuse of Penan girls and women by logging camp workers. The report further mentions that several of the victims were schoolgirls as young as 10.

No effort to charge the perpetrators

Zuraida also expressed her disappointment on the fact that there "is no effort at all to charge the perpetrators, although they have been identified in the report".

"We are upset that there is no effort to charge them, although the report identified the offenders who committed this crime on these girls, some of them were as young as 10 years old and some of whom were repeatedly made pregnant," she said.

She proceeded to condemn the logging company involved in the sexual abuse for "neglecting their social responsibility towards the Penan society".

"The loggers who abused these girls sexually are such an insult (to society) as they behave like animals. Malaysia do not need such companies who operate solely on self-interest and profit, which will eventually affect its citizens.

"What is there to be proud of if they gain billions of ringgit in profit but fail to provide security to the Penan society?

"Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's (right) 1Malaysia slogan has gone out of the window because of the advantage these loggers took on these women," she said.
Source

Posted on: 2009/9/9 16:53
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Re: GOVT REPORT CONFIRMS PENAN GIRLS WERE RAPED
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Calls for action on rapes of Penan girls

Sep 10, 09 4:18pm

The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) has called on the government to take action on allegations that women and young girls from the Penan tribe in Sarawak have been sexually abused by workers from jungle logging camps.

"(The findings) would mean someone has committed an offence. They should be identified and be charged in court," the government-backed commission's vice-chairman Simon Sipaun told AFP.

Perpetrators could face up to 20 years in jail and whipping if convicted of rape.

"How can they do this sort of thing and no action be taken against them? The Penan are not in a place to protect and defend themselves unlike women in the urban areas who have access to a lot of facilities to help them."

Meanwhile, Swiss-based Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), which champions indigenous rights, welcomed the release of the report but said it was "disturbing" that action has yet to be taken against the perpetrators one year after the claims emerged.

"It is high time that those responsible for the crimes described in the report will face the legal consequences of their conduct," said the group, which first raised the rape allegations.

A high-level government investigation has confirmed the allegations that Penan girls and women were sexually abused and raped.

A team of government officials and activists ventured into remote areas of Sarawak to probe claims that the indigenous tribe was targeted with harassment and rape by timber firm employees.

In their findings, they gave detailed accounts of rape allegations from women who described extensive sexual exploitation in the isolated community.

One victim bore two children as a result of being repeatedly raped and another said that when she was just 10 years old, a logger attempted to rape her and four other girls when he gave them a ride to school in a company vehicle.

"The committee concluded the claims of sexual abuse among the Penan women and girls by outsiders that deal with the Penan, including logging company workers and businessmen, did take place," the 113-page report said.

"These sexual abuses mainly happened because the victims were relying on lifts from the logging vehicles and outsiders who deal with the villagers to buy forest products," it added.

Penan set up new blockades

An official from the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development confirmed the release of the report and said an awareness programme was being carried out to help the Penan prevent sexual assaults.

There are at least 10,000 Penan in Sarawak, but their way of life is under threat from extensive logging of their traditional hunting grounds, as well as the spread of palm oil and timber plantations.

Hundreds of Penan tribespeople, some clad in traditional loincloths and armed with spears and blowpipes, last month set up new blockades in an escalation of their campaign against the destruction of the forest.

Penan chiefs say that after enduring decades of logging which has decimated the jungles they rely on for food and shelter, they now face the new threat of plantations which will destroy forest resources and pollute the rivers.

The rape allegations are just one of the grievances that the Penan are fighting to highlight.

Rights groups have long said that Penan youngsters who must travel from their villages in the dense rainforest to boarding schools in larger towns face constant harassment as they are forced to hitch rides with loggers.

They say that the abuse is widespread and that perpetrators, who are usually drunk, also target women living in settlements and young girls who are home during school holidays.

The plight of the Penan people was made famous in the 1990s by environmental activist Bruno Manser, who campaigned to protect their way of life and fend off the loggers, before he vanished in 2000 amid suspicion of foul play.

Source

Posted on: 2009/9/10 16:57
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Re: GOVT REPORT CONFIRMS PENAN GIRLS WERE RAPED
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Last year the police deny there was any rape. NOW they say not enough details. Fair enough that you need more details - but you would have gotten them sooner IF YOU ACTED EARLIER and not sit around with your thumb up your ass and escorting Sultans around Kch like their personal entourage!!!!

As for the rapists, there is only one path for them in the afterlife. It takes really sick individuals to get off on 10-year olds. Why is it that Malaysia has such a high proportion of them?




Quote:
The rape of young Penan girls: Cops want more info
By STEPHEN THEN and SHARON LING


MIRI/ KUCHING: Sarawak police say they would not be able to nail the loggers who raped and sexually abused Penan women and girls in timber concession zones despite a government report that confirmed these crimes -- not unless they get detailed information.

The Women and Family Affairs Ministry has confirmed that these crimes -- first uncovered by the Bruno Manser Fund on its website, then highlighted by local media -- had taken place, but police said they need detailed information that can lead them to these rapists.

The head of the Criminal Investigation Department in Sarawak, Senior Asst Comm 2 Huzir Mohamed, told The Star on Thursday that the police need more detailed and specific information like names, dates and places.

“We need the names of specific victims, where they can be found, more accurate information on the dates and places of the incidents and descriptions of the people who had committed these (sexual crimes).

“We need to interview these victims. If the report is too general and not precise, it will be difficult for us to probe effectively.

“The ministry must furnish us with more details,” he said when was asked whether the police could launch an investigation to pinpoint the rapists following the ministry’s public disclosure that there had been numerous cases of rape and sexual abuse against Penan girls and women in Ulu Baram in northern Sarawak.

When they first investigated the case, the police found no evidence of these crimes, Inspector-Gene ral of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said in November last year.

However, the continuing public outcry over the horrific crime prompted the Government to study the matter more deeply.

The 111-page report was compiled by a special committee set up by the ministry on Oct 8 last year.

The committee visited numerous Penan settlements in Long Item, Long Kawi, Long Luteng, Long Belok and Niah and said that it had identified several Penan girls and women who had been raped and sexually violated.

The committee members, made up of representatives from several ministries, spoke to these victims in the settlements, as well as two victims who were brought to the Women’s Aid Organisation shelter home in Selangor.

The two victims, aged 17 and 21, had also lodged police reports in Bukit Aman.

“For every case, the committee had difficulties in getting the exact dates of the incidents because the victims could not remember the exact details,” the report said, stressing that these incidents happened years ago.

The report described the testimonies of a 17-year old “Cindy” who said she was raped when she was 12.

She said she was raped by a logging company worker (the name of the company was also disclosed) inside a boarding school, outside the school and when she took a ride on the logger’s vehicle from Long Kawi to Long Lama.

Raping 10yr-old girls
Another girl “Bibi” said she was raped twice by a logger named “Johnny” and she became pregnant in 2005.

The report said the victim told the committee that she did not lodge a police report because she did not know where to go to do so.

She was also uneducated and afraid, said the report, adding that some of the victims had been sexually violated when they were only 10.

The report also said schoolgirls were often molested by lorry drivers while travelling to school in timber company vehicles.

It documented one incident in which a 14-year-old girl’s breasts were touched by a lorry driver. In another incident, a lorry driver tried to molest a group of 10-year-old girls but they managed to escape.

The report highlighted the vulnerability of Penan schoolgirls to such abuse because of their dependence on timber vehicles to transport them to and from school.

“The Penans are overly dependent on timber companies because logging tracks are often the only means of access to their villages,” it said, adding that schools and clinics were four to six hours away by logging track and the Penans were too poor to afford their own transport.

The report said the Penans were also afraid that the authorities may not believe them and would accuse them of trying to create trouble for the logging companies.

The report, however, said that there are Penan women and girls who had admitted to having sexual affairs with some of these loggers, adding that there were some who had married these timber workers.

In the report, the ministry did not recommend what the police should do nor provide exact details of the criminals, where they could be found or if they are still working with the timber company concerned.

Addressing the issue
A copy of the report was released to PKR women’s chief Zuraida Kamaruddin by the ministry on Tuesday and subsequently made available on the Sarawak-based blog Hornbill Unleashed.

On addressing the sexual abuse, the report called for programmes to be conducted to raise the awareness of the Penans on personal safety, sex education and violence against women.

It also recommended the appointment of “trusted” lorry drivers and student management assistants to escort Penan schoolchildren back to their villages.

The report also found that the Penans had little access to registration, healthcare and education due to their poverty and the remoteness of their settlements.

It said many Penans did not have personal documents while their children had a high drop-out rate at school.

“All these issues are closely related to imbalanced development. The lack of infrastructure such as roads and public transport make it difficult for the Penan to communicate with the outside world including government agencies.

“The Penans also feel neglected because of negative perceptions and prejudices against them,” it said.

As such, it said there should be greater involvement of the Penans in the process of making decisions which affect them.

Meanwhile, the Bruno Manser Fund, which first broke the Penans’ allegations of sexual abuse last September, welcomed the release of the task force’s report.

However, it voiced concern that the report apparently did not have any legal consequences for the perpetrators.

“It is high time that those responsible for the crimes described in the report will face the legal consequences of their conduct,” it said in a statement released on the Borneo Project website.

Source

Posted on: 2009/9/10 23:03
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Re: GOVT REPORT CONFIRMS PENAN GIRLS WERE RAPED
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Quote:
Penan rape report: What took so long?

Sep 11, 09 1:53pm

A human rights watchdog wants to know why the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry took such a long time to compile a report on Penan women being sexually abused by loggers in Baram, Sarawak.

The Switzerland-based Bruno Manser Fund, an association for the peoples of the rainforest, said it is "disturbing to note that it has taken the Malaysian government a full year to compile this report."

The association, which highlighted the matter last September, said the report has not had any legal consequences for the perpetrators.

"It is high time that the responsible (parties) of the crimes described in the report face the legal consequences of their conduct.

"It would also seem appropriate that such a scandal should have political consequences at the state level," added the association in a statement today.

The report, which was made available to the public earlier this week, was released a year after the Bruno Manser Fund launched a campaign against the sexual abuse of Penan girls and women by logging company workers.

Police investigating the case

The association also noted that the report, which contains the results of an investigation conducted by the ministry in November 2008 "contradicted statements by leading Sarawak politicians."

"(This includes) Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu, who had condemned (us) for making the Penans' allegations of sexual abuse public," it said.

On Sept 15 last year, the Bruno Manser Fund had blamed employees of Samling and Interhill, two logging companies operating in Sarawak's Middle Baram region, for the incident.

Both companies had denied the allegations.

Meanwhile, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said the logging companies whose workers were involved in sexual abuse have been identified and information will be submitted to the police for further action.

According to English daily The Star, the minister also said that several measures were being taken to rehabilitate the indigenous community.

"We will leave it to the police to take the necessary action but we are looking at the rehabilitation of the victims and to make life easier for the community there.

"The safety of the Penan girls and women must be ensured and they must not be put at risk. The government will never condone such a crime although the Penans live away from the capital.

"That is why the government had authorised the report to be made public and for all the relevant ministries to take any necessary action together with the NGOs," Shahrizat was quoted as saying.

According to her, the ministry's women development department director-general Dr Noorul Ainur Mohd Nur has been assigned to monitor the situation of the indigenous people in Sarawak.

The minister also said the report had been approved by the Cabinet last May and is available on the ministry's website.

Source

Posted on: 2009/9/11 14:35
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Re: GOVT REPORT CONFIRMS PENAN GIRLS WERE RAPED
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Problem list:
1. Some of the penans do not have identification cards so they are prone to be abused or exploited.

2. Moreover, they are staying deep in the forest, far from police stations and health clinics making reporting and health screening ignored or slowed.

3. Workers of the timber camps and oil palm plantations came from various places and some can be illegal immigrant workers from our neighbour. Illegal foreign workers do not hesitate to harm, kill or rape their victims as they can hardly be traced.

Various steps have to be taken by both the governments, the big ass companies, the penans and the people!

1. government - to provide roads & other basic necessities to their villages, encourage penans to move nearer to pan borneo highway.

2. penans got to leave their ancestral areas to migrate to urban places for better health care, registration, education etc.

3. the timber and oil palm companies need to screen their workers well, ensuring good discipline and to report of any misconduct and to enforce penalty on them.

4. ngos - most foreign ngos are trying to preserve the nomadic way of life of the penans (it's good to keep valuable cultures but not all the cultures). Penans had been persuaded by governments since decades ago to come and live together with others for their betterment. It's good to highlight their plight but not to encourage them to do slash and burn and live in a temporary hut and go hunting when hungry (most do not know how to rear animals and plant vege.

5. the people can show their sympathy by reporting any abuse inflicted on the penans, giving donations but at the same time must encourage penans to settle down.










Posted on: 2009/9/11 16:27
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Re: GOVT REPORT CONFIRMS PENAN GIRLS WERE RAPED
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An interesting article written by local environmental activist 黄孟祚 (in chinese):

自七月下旬以来,北砂内陆慕禄国家公园以南二、三十公里的伐木及园丘(种树与油棕)执照区内,有通路遭当地本南人设立障碍阻止车辆经过。本地报章说有四家公司受影响。读者若没有阅读国外媒体或网站新闻恐怕至今还不知道所指公司为谁。如果受阻的公司就是所描述的所谓受害者,那又有什么隐蔽的必要呢?

曾到路障实地采访的法国通讯社(AFP)于8月23日报道称,四家公司为三林、常青、升阳和启德行(乃被列为砂六大伐木或种植公司中的四家,只差大安与 WTK。本南人与他们对比,犹如圣经故事大卫与歌利亚)。大家都知道除了三林,其他三个集团也是本地数家报章的拥有者。这个联系就叫读者不难了解为何这些地方主流媒体会三番四次地引用内陆选区(Bakalalan)州议员尼逊巴兰(Nelson Balang)的话,怀疑四名法国通讯社的记者就是外来的煽动者,不惜腾出版位重复刊用由木山公司负责人所拍摄之外国人在路障处的倩影,声称彼等教导本南人如何书写抗议标语,指他们唆使当地居民反对伐木。

虽然警方闻讯后已对外国记者进行查询,并声明不能一口咬定彼等为幕后策划人。可是,“可尊敬”的尼逊巴兰仍发布公告称要与幕后人面谈,言意之外就是叫他们所怀疑的搞事非政府组织现身。峇南德浪乌山(Telang Usan)的州议员利汉佐(Lihan Jok)则表现相对专业些,主张直接邀请本南领袖与当局进行对话,虽然他也声称不排除法国通讯社记者怀有其他动机,把原本善良的本南人教坏了。

各造图让本南人知恩图报

这些印刷媒体显然在“善用”所谓第四权来影响公众的观点,相关报章的舆论也连篇回应政要和伐木商的煽动论,呼吁本南人改变思维接受政府的发展政策,让出必须开发的森林土地,迁出定居在集中的地点,让政府提供他们教育、医药与其他基本设施的服务。


本南人用数码录像机也成为这些报刊津津乐道的主题,说他们不再是吴下阿蒙,也必然是富裕起来了;报导影射他们不应该是公众所可怜或关心的对象。又似乎在说内陆的居民怎能像城市居民一样用起高科技产品了。

伐木商屡称他们对待内陆居民不薄;时常给予交通服务,接送他们的儿女往返学校,护送病人去诊所,以及提供建筑材料等。俨然是对本南人行了大好的事,居民理应感激才对。有关公司发言人经还理直气壮地说本南人是伐木活动的受惠者,声称伐木商原无义务,其对当地居民的施给,纯是道德的考量。

总之,这些政府当局、政要、伐木商、媒体和警方的用意就是要本南人就范,叫他们拿去一些施舍的“恩惠”,乖乖接受政府的政策与献议,让伐木商及种植业者继续向内陆的边缘挺进,直到可开采的资源竭尽和可利用的土地全被财团开发为止。这才是一个马来西亚的和谐稳定,请非政府组织与外国环保团体靠边站就对了!

抗议黑手是本南人的肚子

至于让公众在森林消失相关的灾害来临时再来争吵一番,也无妨碍,反正国家财富与权力已牢控在政治与经济精英的手中,即便再坏的事件来临也不能动摇政权与社会的稳定性。相信煽动论者如果今天对弱势群体的遭遇保持沉默,并不能保证自己的将来在这种制度下,会不会变成弱势。谁知道洪水、烟霾之后,我们还要面对何种灾害。而气候变化又将为本地人民带来什么效果呢?别忘了森林是调节大气层之二氧化碳的重要功臣。

再者,森林一旦被转换为园丘将彻底摧毁当地本南人生计基础,如果说设路障有所谓幕后黑手的话,那就是他们的肚子了。尽管砂副首长陈康南和乌鲁拉让区国会议员比利阿必(Billy Abit)否认有关拉让江上游本南人因伐木活动而面对饥饿的报道,但路障或其他抗拒事件还会继续,即便是杜绝外国记者到访。除非政治人物与伐木商能改变他们的思维(mindset)用心去聆听原住民的心声和尊重他们的人权,而不是叫本南人去改变他们的思维,否则我们的国家与社会必然是文明不起来的。理由很简单,因为目前的森林开发方式缺少了公平的正义。

Original text from Merdeka Review: http://www.merdekareview.com/news/n/10791.html

Posted on: 2009/9/16 6:15
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Re: GOVT REPORT CONFIRMS PENAN GIRLS WERE RAPED
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wish someone can translate that!

Posted on: 2009/9/16 8:07
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Re: GOVT REPORT CONFIRMS PENAN GIRLS WERE RAPED
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Quote:
PENAN ABUSE: S'WAK LAUNCHES COUNTER-ATTACK

Keruah Usit
23/09/09

Embattled Sarawak government officials have responded to damaging media coverage of their treatment of Sarawak's Penan minority, arguing that "negative NGOs" were to blame rather than the Sarawak authorities.

A flurry of angry headlines has emerged in the past few days in the Sarawak press. Local newspapers are tightly controlled by the state government and logging and plantation companies.

borneo post on doubt over penan report 120909In a Sept 12 front page article in the Borneo Post, "Doubts over KL Penan report", Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister and Minister in charge of Penan affairs Alfred Jabu cast doubt on the credibility of a report condemning the rape of minors by logging company workers.

The report had been issued by the national task force set up by the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development to investigate allegations of rape of Penan girls and women by logging companies in far-flung villages in Baram.

The release of the report was delayed by Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil for almost a year, raising questions of political interference. Shahrizat eventually released the report on Sept 8 after intense pressure by opposition parties and civil society.

Jabu's outburst

According to the Borneo Post, Jabu said "there may be a report, but you must remember that negative non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were strongly behind it... (but) if there are grounds to take action, then it must be done."

Jabu had added that the media had "played a role" by highlighting the issue.

He went on to admit that he had not even seen the report. However, the article quoted Jabu as saying he "believed negative NGOs had a hand in it". He did not elaborate on the NGOs' identities.

There was no response from Shahrizat or her ministry to Jabu's outburst.

The national taskforce comprised senior members of her ministry, as well as members of the Home Affairs, Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage, Education, Rural and Regional Development, and Health, ministries, as well as representatives from the Sarawak government itself, and NGOs Women's Centre for Change (WCC) and Women's Aid Organisation (WAO).

The task force found that Penan girls as young as 10 had been sexually abused by employees of logging companies in remote Baram communities. The report concluded that Penans' poverty and dependency on the logging companies for transport to and from school had contributed to the sexual abuse by logging company truck drivers and other workers.

Jabu has attempted to portray himself as a champion of Sarawakians, resisting interference from the federal government. He ignored the fact that the Sarawak government and a representative of the Royal Malaysian Police had participated in the national taskforce.

The Borneo Post quoted Jabu as saying some of the Penan were in "cahoots" with foreign NGOs, bringing up the spectre of Swiss environmentalist Bruno Manser. Jabu alleged Manser had gone to live with the Penan to make a documentary so that he could "make some money".

Manser had highlighted injustices perpetrated on the Penan by logging companies in the 1980s and 1990s. He went missing in Baram in 2000. He is believed to have died there, but his body has never been found.

"The negative NGOs made use of the Penan to feed their concocted stories about Malaysia... if all the Penans are settled down, the negative NGOs cannot make up stories and cannot exploit the Penan any more. The negative NGOs will then lose their business," he was quoted as saying.

Jabu appeared to describe the activism of Manser's NGO, and the work of two women's NGOs in the Ministry's national task force on sexual abuse of the Penan by logging workers, as being under the same umbrella of "negative NGOs". However, he stopped short of accusing the WCC and WAO of being in the "business" of exploiting the Penan.

borneo post on dawos claim penan issue 200909In another Borneo Post article on Sept 20, headlined "NGOs manipulating Penan issue: Dawos", State Environmental Advisor Dr James Dawos Mamit echoed Jabu's allegations.

He was quoted as saying "if (the NGOs) highlight an issue like this, the foreign donors will come in and give them more money."

Both Jabu and Dawos condemned the Sept 16 Malaysia Day protest by Penan and other Dayak villagers from Murum, at the Chief Minister's office in Kuching. Fifteen protesters had been arrested for attempting to hand over a memorandum to the Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud. They had been protesting the loss of their ancestral lands to the construction of the giant Murum hydroelectric dam.

"It is not the Penans who oppose. You tell me who are the Penans? Where did they come from? Did they come from Murum?" Dawos asked, according to the Borneo Post.

Blockades dismantled

penan blockade in sarawak loggingMeanwhile, Telang Usan state assembly representative Lihan Jok argued that Penan blockades against logging and plantation companies had been voluntarily dismantled in Baram, according to the Borneo Post on Sept 18.

PKR state information chief See Chee How made a subsequent press statement rebutting Lihan. See pointed out that he had been present at Lihan's meeting in Long Bangan, Baram, with 200 Penan from 16 settlements, who had been protesting the incursion of the plantation company.

See uploaded a copy of a video of Lihan's meeting with the Penan communities onto the website Hornbill Unleashed. He said the police, army and forestry officers had forcibly dismantled the blockades, after Lihan had said he could not ensure the Penans' land rights could be protected.

"State leaders like Alfred Jabu and Lihan Jok should be held responsible for Sarawak's plummeting international reputation," See argued.

"The revelation of the task force report on the alleged sexual abuses of Penan girls and women has exposed the state's neglect for the welfare of the state's minority groups. The suppression of truths concerning their aspirations and dissent will only fuel the anger and agitation of right-thinking people."

Chief Minister Taib did not respond personally to the international furore over Sarawak's treatment of rural communities. However, he made an appeal in his Hari Raya message for an end of criticism of the state's Barisan Nasional government.

With Sarawak elections to be held by next year, the mounting anger over the cosy relationship between Sarawak's top politicians and wealthy timber and plantation companies, and their neglect of rural Sarawakians' rights, are the last thing Taib needs.

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Posted on: 2009/9/23 12:37
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Re: GOVT REPORT CONFIRMS PENAN GIRLS WERE RAPED
Just can't stay away
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One of the victims who made the police report has made an about-turn and said she wasn't raped at all and that the NGOs forced her to make the report in KL.

It was based on her and another girl's rape police report made in KL and the evidence supplied by them that sparked the Task Force investigation into the rape of Penan girls in the Sarawak Interior.


Quote:
What! Me a rape victim?
By W B Ongie
29/09/09

MARUDI: A 22-year-old Penan woman, who was reported by the Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) as being raped, made an about-turn yesterday when she categorically denied being a victim.

The mother of two from Long Itam, Baram told the press she had filed a police report on the matter at the Long Lama police station last Saturday at 1.45pm.

Reports have been circulating that the woman, who was in Kuala Lumpur for several months last year, is a rape victim.

“To clear my good name, I had to make a police report,” she said.

When asked by the press why she didn’t file a report earlier, she replied: “I was not allowed by the longhouse people to go out from Long Itam, but only now I am free. So I have to do so.”

She lodged the report accompanied by her husband.

The woman, who declined to be named, said in October last year she was approached by a Penan man known to her at the Long Item longhouse in Patah, Baram.

“He informed me that he wanted to bring my one-year-old child for treatment in Kuala Lumpur. My other daughter was also feeling unwell, and I agreed. I sent a message to my husband through my sister Beta that I was going to Kuala Lumpur with the local Penan man,” she said.

The woman said she then travelled to Miri with her two daughters and another Penan woman who was accompanied by her daughter.

The group stayed there for a night before going to Kuching. She said they then stayed in a hotel in the city for six nights before leaving for Kuala Lumpur.

“So when we arrived in Kuala Lumpur, we (mothers) plus our children were directed by the local Penan man to follow his instructions and were asked to sign an agreement,” said the woman. She claimed that after four days in Kuala Lumpur, the Penan man gave them RM100 each and then disappeared.

“We stayed in Kuala Lumpur for more than three months. He asked us to stay with a Malay family, where our food was provided by the homeowner. I don’t know the actual address of the place where we stayed,” said the woman.

She said they only returned to Sarawak in December with the help of a woman who claimed to be a lawyer.

Baram police chief DSP Jonathan Jalin Empading confirmed receiving the report from the Long Lama police station about the woman denying she was raped and alleging that she had been conned into going to Kuala Lumpur.

The Borneo Post had in October last year quoted the woman’s husband denying the rape allegations.

He had stressed that his wife was seeking treatment for their youngest child and believed that someone could have been taking advantage of them when the rape allegations surfaced.

Source


This is the rebuttal by the NGOs that claim the girl was not forced to make the report, and that her 'husband' is also the same man who raped her and is the subject of the Task Force report also.

Quote:
Was Penan Woman Intimidated into Denying Rape?

Keruah Usit
30/09/09

Sarawak newspapers have highlighted a police report made by an unnamed Penan woman denying she had been raped as previously reported.

The woman, described as a mother of two from Long Item, made the statement at the Long Lama police station in rural Sarawak on Sept 28.

Malaysiakini has learnt the same woman, 22, had lodged a report at the Bukit Aman police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur last year, saying she had been raped by 'Johnny' (not his real name), a timber-camp worker in Sarawak.

A high-level national task force set up by the cabinet last year confirmed that a Long Item woman, given the pseudonym 'Bibi', had been raped at least twice by 'Johnny', an employee of Interhill, a wealthy logging company operating in Baram.

NONEBibi was one of eight cases of sexual abuse and rape of Penan girls as young as 10 that were documented by the task force last November. Led by the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, the task force identified the crimes during only one week of investigations.

The task force spent a day, last Nov 5, interviewing Bibi and another victim 'Cindy', who had travelled to Kuala Lumpur to report rape by loggers.

The task force then traveled for six days, Nov 10-15, on a limited fact-finding mission to Baram, and documented widespread instances of rape and sexual abuse of Penan girls by loggers.

The Borneo Post and mainstream Chinese newspapers, however, trumpeted new allegations that Bibi said had been “conned” into going to Kuala Lumpur for “over three months”.

According to the Borneo Post story, she had agreed to go to Kuala Lumpur with an unidentified Penan man because he “wanted to bring her one-year-old child to Kuala Lumpur for treatment”. The newspaper did not specify the illness.

The report quoted her as saying she had been paid RM100 over the three months she spent in Kuala Lumpur.

penan baram women sexual abuse by loggers 220908 01The front-page story did not question the incredible idea that any woman could somehow have been “conned” to take her two small children to a distant city for months on end, for RM100.

It is well known that Penan people from rural communities are traditionally shy, reserved, and do not readily leave their close-knit communities. Most Penan perceive the environment of cities such as Kuala Lumpur as terrifying and dangerous, much as urban Malaysians picture the equatorial rainforest, home to Sarawak's 16,000 Penan.

Ministerial report documented rape

Star newspaper had published reports about the rape of Bibi and Cindy on Oct 6 last year. The two then lodged reports at Bukit Aman that they had been raped by logging camp workers.

A four-member panel led by Dr Noorul Ainur Mohd Nur, director-general of the Women's Development Department and overall head of the task force, documented clearly that loggers had raped both women. The interview was conducted at the Women's Aid Organisation (WAO) headquarters in Selangor.

The task force followed the pseudonyms given in the Star report: Bibi, a 21-year-old woman from Long Item, and Cindy, a 17-year-old girl from Long Kawi. Both had delivered babies as a consequence of their alleged rape.

NONEThe panel stated: Bibi, an uneducated 21-year-old woman from Long Item, says she was raped twice by the same man, causing her to give birth.

The first episode occurred in 2005, when the rapist, known to her as Johnny (not his real name), entered her house at night and raped Bibi in her own room. She knew Johnny as a logging employee from the Interhill Camp near her village…as a result she gave birth to a daughter who is now two years old.

The task force report continued: The second time was in 2007, when Johnny again broke into her home when she was alone. Bibi became pregnant and gave birth to a daughter in February 2008…She did not tell her family who had raped her, because she was afraid…Johnny had delivered food on several occcasions to Bibi and her family. Johnny had also claimed Bibi as his wife but Bibi did not want to accept him because Johnny already had two wives, one of whom was also Penan.

Malaysiakini understands that Bibi is the woman who has now made a new police report. The Borneo Post stated confidently on Sept 28 that her “husband” had accompanied her to Long Lama to make the police report. None of the local news reporters asked for verification, such as a marriage certificate - despite the forced sex and alleged bigamy detailed by the ministerial task force report.

Johnny appears to be the same man who claims to be Bibi's husband. The same man was interviewed by the Borneo Post last October, following the Star report of rape by loggers.

At the time, the Borneo Post had quoted the woman's “husband” as denying that she had been raped, claiming instead that they were married, and that his “wife” was seeking treatment for their youngest child – a claim repeated in the latest round of local news stories.

The Borneo Post and other mainstream Sarawak newspapers are owned by logging conglomerates and are closely entwined with the ruling political elite.

Scepticism over police report

In a Malaysian Mirror video posting headlined 'Meera: shame on you Jabu' on Sept 16, WAO president Meera Samanther rebutted Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu's allegations that “negative NGOs” had had a hand in the task force report findings.

meera samanther 01“The two women came to our shelter…the decision was left to them: there's a policy of self-determination. No one coerced, no-one forced them to make any reports, they did it out of their own volition. There was no pressure from anyone,” Meera insisted.

A source closely involved in the investigations, who has pressed for justice for the Penan, responded to the latest Borneo Post report with scepticism.

“After the Star report came out, Cindy and Bibi were afraid for the safety of their small children, and for their own safety,” the source told Malaysiakini.

“They were worried they would be victimised by the loggers, to stop them from reporting these inhuman crimes.

“The two young Penan women went to Kuala Lumpur because they felt they were in danger. They and their children were cared for, and protected, in a safe house. The suggestion that Bibi was bribed RM100 to go to Kuala Lumpur, or was conned, is laughable.

“Why did this new police report appear a year after her initial Bukit Aman report? Could it be she is still afraid of this Johnny, as she told the task force?

“Could it be this latest publicity is yet another smokescreen, designed to divert Malaysians' attention from the fact that the police have not brought the rapists to justice? The rapists are still free - to rape again.

“Was this Penan woman intimidated into denying she was raped?”
Source

Posted on: 2009/10/1 15:17
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