(excerpt from Malaysiakini)
by Keruah Usit - Aug 12, 09
Minister for Women, Family and Community Development Shahrizat Abdul Jalil has been resisting mounting pressure to make public a controversial report on the alleged rape and sexual abuse of Penan girls in Sarawak.
Civil society groups have documented 15 reports of alleged rape or sexual abuse of young Penan girls in the Baram area by logging workers. Many of the survivors are minors.
The allegations provoked national outrage when the stories of two teenagers from Long Item and Long Belok were highlighted in the mainstream media last year. The reports described unwanted pregnancies as a result of the sexual abuse.
Survivors have said reports made to the Sarawak police have been disregarded. They claimed the police told them investigations could not be successfully carried out, because the alleged crimes had been committed in remote areas.
The Bar Council, the Women's Aid Organisation (WAO), Suaram, and other civil society groups called for Bukit Aman to send an investigative team to the Baram villages.
The groups said last year that a police report on the alleged rape of a 12-year-old Penan girl had been made as far back as 1994, yet no meaningful attempt at investigation had ever been carried out.
“There has been a loss of confidence in the Sarawak police force,” then Bar Council head Ambiga Sreenevasan argued last October.
Sarawak Police Commissioner Mohamad Salleh said the police could not act without official reports, but victims have accused the local police of refusing to accept reports.
Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu anak Numpang treated the rape allegations with contempt. He dismissed the claims as unfounded, without waiting for any investigation by the police.
Read the rest of the article here
This is so, so sad.
Not too many days ago, I wrote about the plight of the starving Penan, and the arrogant callousness of the Sarawak BN government in laughing off the matter.
Rape allegations of underage Penan girls, being completely ignored! These are not your average boh-sia jalanan. These are the Penan - a people whose culture is so gentle, it amazes the world! It is disgusting that our own BN government finds them so much less than amazing that their lives and safety are not even worth a second thought.
Why do our Sarawak brethren keep voting these callous criminal fools into power?
When, oh when will the Sarawakians stand up and demand that the govt respect their rights?