3 Dec 2012
Indigenous Leaders from Sarawak Arrive in Hobart for Save Sarawak Rivers Tour
Indigenous leaders from the Malaysian state of Sarawak met today with Hydro Tasmania’s CEO Roy Adair in Launceston. This afternoon the delegation from Sarawak will meet with Tasmania’s Deputy Premier Bryan Green. The final public event will be held in Hobart on Tuesday 4 Dec at the Republic Bar in North Hobart at 7pm.
An Australian tour by Peter Kallang, Chairman of the SAVE Rivers group of Sarawak Indigenous leaders and James Nyurang, village headman from the Baram River Region, has called on Hydro Tasmania to pull their support out of controversial dam proposals in Sarawak that will displace tens of thousands of people from their homes and flood large tracts of forests and farmland.
“Meeting with the CEO of Hydro Tasmania has meant that the people of Sarawak could directly request Hydro Tasmania to withdraw from the controversial dam projects. Hydro Tasmania continues to supply staff and technical expertise to push these projects along despite a growing campaign in Sarawak against the dams, and deplorable human rights violations,” said Adam Burling, spokesperson for the Save Sarawak Rivers Tour.
Peter Kallang, from the SAVE Rivers group of Sarawak Indigenous leaders said: "People in Australia need to be aware that an Australian state owned company, Hydro Tasmania is involved in massive dam proposals that stand to affect up to 20,000 people who live along the Baram River in Sarawak.
"Hydro Tasmania is turning a blind eye to the human rights and environmental impacts of these dams."
James Nyurang, village headman from the Baram River Region said: "If the dams go ahead I will lose my home, my land. I have no idea where my family will be moved to or how we will make our livelihood.
"Hydro Tasmania’s involvement in Sarawak will help to flood thousands of hectares of land belonging to the indigenous peoples of Sarawak. This will spell the end of our heritage, our means of livelihood, custom and culture. We will not stand by while our homes, our rice fields, our fruit trees go under water." James Nyurang said.
While in Australia, Peter Kallang and James Nyurang have had public events in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, and Launceston. They have met with Federal Senators and Victorian and NSW Members of Parliament from The Australian Greens, Labor Senator Lisa Singh and Federal Independent member of Parliament Andrew Wilkie.
Save Sarawak Rivers Tour Manager