Sarawak Energy is currently planning 12 new dams which will destroy the lives and livelihoods of indigenous communities and drown hundreds of square kilometers of intact rainforests. Despite public commitments to Indigenous Rights, Tasmanian-owned Hydro Tasmania shares responsibility for this destruction. We demand that the Tasmanian government sever all ties with Sarawak Energy, and take a stand for environmental conservation and indigenous rights.
The Malaysian province of Sarawak, on the island of Borneo, is home to over 40 indigenous communities, as well as many endangered species, including the orangutan. The state-owed power company, Sarawak Energy, threatens to destroy some the last remaining rainforests in Borneo, drowning the homes of indigenous communities and obliterating priceless habitat.
Sarawak energy is not consulting with communities in good faith, and is not getting the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent of the affected communities. There is an overall lack of transparency; Sarawak Energy is not sharing their environmental or social impact assessments, feasibility studies, and resettlement plans. Meager compensation benefits will force communities into poverty.
Entura, a fully owned subsidiary of Hydro Tasmania, is providing technical assistance, while Hydro Tasmania is seconding staff directly to Sarawak Energy. Hydro Tasmania is owned by the Australian state of Tasmania. Australia has repeatedly made strong international commitments to human and indigenous rights, including signing the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Together with the Borneo Project (USA), the Bruno Manser Fund (Switzerland), the Rainforest Action Network (USA), International Rivers (USA), and the Sarawak Report (UK), we demand that the government of Australia and the government of Tasmania live up to their commitments to protect indigenous rights and the environment, and immediately pull Hydro Tasmania and all its subsidiaries out of Sarawak.
- Premier of Tasmania
- Minister of Foreign Affairs, Australia
Senator the Honorable Robert Carr
Dear Premier Lara Giddings and Senator the Honorable Robert Carr,
I was shocked to learn that the government of Tasmania and Hydro Tasmania are involved in the destruction of the rainforest and in egregious violation of indigenous rights in Sarawak, Malaysia. The 12 dams planned for Sarawak's rivers will displace tens of thousands of indigenous people and destroy hundreds of square kilometers of priceless rainforest habitat.
The government of Tasmania, and Australia, is responsible for the actions of its companies and subsidiaries. Entura, a fully owned subsidiary of Hydro Tasmania, is providing technical assistance and seconding staff to Sarawak Energy. As you know, Hydro Tasmania is fully owned by government of the Australian state of Tasmania. It's time to live up to the international promises and commitments that Australia has made to protect indigenous rights and protect the rainforest.
Today, I am standing with activists and organizations from around the world, and asking you to take action against environmental destruction and to protect indigenous rights. Sever the ties between Hydro Tasmania and Sarawak Energy.
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