International actions against Sarawak logging
Rainforest campaigner Bruno Manser will begin a fast in March in solidarity with the Penan people of Sarawak state in Malaysia. Manser and others in Switzerland and Austria plan the fast as part of an internationally coordinated campaign against the resumption of logging in Sarawak.
The actions are intended to culminate in Brussels during an international Timber Conference and an Environmental Conference of European Environment Ministers between March 16 and 25. More international actions are proposed for a later date in Japan. A number of European-based groups have indicated that they will join the actions.
Manser, through the Lismore-based Rainforest Information Centre, has circulated a statement issued by the Penan people in December. In it, Penan spokesperson Juman Giyong and seven others told of their recent attempts to re-establish a blockade against the loggers:
"We erected another blockade on 27 November 1992, which was smashed after four days ... The policeman told us: We will shoot all of you, also the small children, although they have done nothing wrong. If you do blockade, you are wrong."
Loggers first arrived in the territories of the Penan in 1984. Since then 80% of their virgin forests have been logged, including promised biosphere reserves. More than 500 Penan people have been arrested since 1987 for carrying out peaceful blockades. The Penan people are now subjected to the permanent presence of military forces from West Malaysia in their areas.
Groups or individuals interested in participating in or supporting this campaign should contact the Rainforest Information Centre on (066) 218 505 or fax (066) 222339.