Indigenous leader barred from world hydropower congress in Sarawak

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A key indigenous leader was barred from an International Hydropower Association pre-congress workshop in Kuching, reports the Bruno Manser Fund.

Save_Rivers_Chairman_Peter_Kallang

The Bruno Manser Fund condemns the barring of important indigenous leader Peter Kallang from a pre-congress IHA workshop and demands a guarantee that all indigenous and NGO representatives will be granted access to the IHA congress.

The International Hydropower Assocation’s World Congress to be held in Kuching, Sarawak/ Malaysia, from 21 to 24 May 2013, is beginning badly.

Peter Kallang, an important indigenous leader from Baram, Sarawak, has been barred this morning from a pre-congress workshop organised jointly by the International Hydropower Association (IHA), the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Despite having paid the horrendous IHA World Congress’ registration fee of US$1750, Kallang was stopped this morning from boarding a bus to the International Hydropower Association’s pre-congress workshop at Sarawak Energy Bhd’s office. The reason given to Kallang was that he had written critical letters to the International Hydropower Association’s chairman, Richard Taylor, over the IHA’s cooperation with the regime of Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud and the association’s policy to exclude affected indigenous people from the congress.

Kallang, who heads the Save Sarawak Rivers network, lodged a police report against IHA representative Douglas Smith, who apparently acted upon instruction by Sarawak Energy.

The Bruno Manser Fund strongly condemns this attempt by the International Hydropower Association and by Sarawak Energy to silence critical voices and demands an immediate apology from IHA Director Richard Taylor over the incident and a guarantee that Kallang and all indigenous and NGO representatives will be granted unlimited access to the IHA congress.

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The leadership of the World Bank, the IFC, the ADB and the IDB will be notified over this grave incident against basic standards of fairness and will be asked for an explanation.

BMF team, 21 May 2013

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