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Suaram: Look into police complicity in encroachment into Orang Asli land

Published:  |  Modified:

Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador should take responsibility for his officers assisting in the demolition of blockades and arresting Temiar activists in Gerik, says Suaram.

Sevan Doraisamy, the executive director of the human rights group, called for the release of the detained Temiar villagers and for police officers to be "reined in."

"The IGP cannot ignore the policy direction by the Pakatan Harapan administration, and must ensure that the police comply with the policy direction of the administration with regards to the protection and promotion of Orang Asli rights.

"Furthermore, the IGP must answer for why no actions have been taken against the logging companies who were encroaching on Orang Asli lands," Sevan said in a statement today.

"The blockades built by Orang Asli communities are a response to the encroachment of their ancestral land, and it is an act to defend their livelihood and the survival of their community.

"The federal government had previously committed to protecting the rights of Orang Asli and initiated proceedings against the Kelantan government on the matter."

Suaram called on the Harapan administration to put an end to the inconsistency and hypocrisy in the protection of Orang Asli rights.

"The administration cannot, on the one hand, commit to protecting Orang Asli rights and on the other, have the police running contrary to the policy and supporting loggers and plantation owners in dismantling barricades and arresting community activists.

"The Harapan administration must rein in the police and issue a clear directive to the police in the handling of matters relating to Orang Asli blockade," the statement read.

Suaram also called for Harapan state governments to suspend all activities that encroach on Orang Asli ancestral lands.

"If the Harapan administration through the Home Ministry is unwilling to act, its MPs, especially those sitting in the Parliament Select Committee on Rights and Gender Equality, must summon the home minister and IGP to answer for the ongoing violation of Orang Asli rights."

Sevan added that Harapan cannot continue to claim that the violations occurred under the previous administration if they themselves implement no policy to stop encroachment into ancestral lands.

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