PETALING JAYA: Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS) has announced plans to map out and consolidate Orang Asal territories in conjunction with a global campaign on indigenous and community land rights.
The worldwide campaign by #LandRightsNow was signed on by over 300 organisations which aim to double the global area of land legally recognised as owned or controlled by indigenous peoples (Orang Asal) and local communities by 2020.
“Land rights for Orang Asal, is not just an issue of livelihoods, our traditional land is the source of our identity and culture,” said JOAS secretary-general Jannie Lasimbang in a statement on Wednesday.
“Rather than sitting back and waiting, JOAS has been training community mappers to map out our traditional territories which will later be consolidated into a national database,” she added.
She said that communal areas including watersheds, hunting grounds, burial areas and forests all found within traditional territories (wilayah adat) are being contested in courts as outside of our traditional territories.
“In an effort to secure our land rights, we have trained community mappers who will go to Orang Asal villages and work with communities to map out the land they’ve used for generations,” she said.
According to #LandRightsNow, in the last decade alone foreign investments have led to the acquisition of more than 81 million acres of land worldwide – an area the size of Portugal, with consequences for many rural and forest dwellers across the world.
To find out more about the campaign, log on to landrightsnow.org