NGO to map out and consolidate Orang Asal territories

jannie-lasimbang,joas

KOTA KINABALU: Non-governmental organisation (NGO) for Orang Asal rights, Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (Joas), says it will be mapping out and consolidating Orang Asal territories in conjunction with the Global Call to Action on Indigenous and Community Land Rights by the #LandRightsNow campaign.

The NGO had been training community mappers to map out Orang Asal traditional territories which would later be consolidated into a national database, said Joas secretary-general Jannie Lasimbang today.

“Land rights for Orang Asal is not just an issue of livelihood. Our traditional land is the source of our identity and culture,” she said.

The worldwide #LandRightsNow campaign, signed by over 300 organisations, aims to double the global area of land legally recognised as owned or controlled by indigenous peoples and local communities by 2020.

Jannie noted that the current trend saw Orang Asal communal areas contested in courts as being outside of their traditional territories, or wilayah adat.

These communal areas include watersheds, hunting grounds, burial areas and forest areas.

“In an effort to secure our land rights, we have trained community mappers who will go to Orang Asal villages and work with the communities to map out the land they’ve used for generations,” she explained.

The #LandRightsNow campaign stresses on securing and protecting the ownership of indigenous and community land and resource rights.

“Securing indigenous and community land and resource rights is key in the face of global challenges, such as eradicating hunger and poverty, promoting gender equality and ensuring environmental protection,” said Joas president Yusri Ahon.

Campaign participants include the KAIT Indigenous Research Group, National Human Rights Society (Hakam), Partners of Community Organisations (Pacos), Sarawak Dayak Iban Association, and at least 600 other organisations worldwide.