26 07 2010

About 23 tertiary Christian students from the various institutions of Malaysia and South Korea gathered at Uma Balui Liko, Ulu Belaga, in Sarawak from 8th to the 18th June 2010 to participate in the “School of Acting Justly, Loving Tenderly, and Treading Humbly with God (SALT) 2010” jointly organised by Malaysian Catholic Students’ Council (MCSC) and International Movement of Catholic Students Asia Pacific (IMCS AP).  This programme is held for the third time in Malaysia. SALT is a school with space and time for effective bonding amongst the participants, fostering a sense of teamwork, partnership and communion among the participants. There were process of mutual enrichment through information sharing, training in Native Customary Rights (NCR) and informal interactive learning by experiencing the reality of the Kayan and Kenyah community situated nearby.

Upon observation made through the  Exposure Programme on four selected villages, we discovered few issues faced regarding human rights violation especially NCR land ownership, marginalization in terms of  rights to have a proper basic facilities, and ecological disruption of the local community.

Most of the problems caused by the logging activities, Political Marginalization, forced resettlement and demolition of settlement, and also the state government’s decision that declared their NCR lands are belong to the government. Although the older generations in the villages are still preserving their culture, most of the adolescents lack of the awareness regarding the importance of learning and uphold their custom in order to ensure it will be inherited by the next generation.

At the end of the programme, all the SALT 2010 members declare to uphold the dignity and rights of the marginalized indigenous peoples through our actions by vocalizing their issues and to work with them at various levels.

Grace Amy Simon



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