Displacement of Sea Nomads Sparks Human Rights Outcry in Borneo

Human rights activists have condemned the demolition of stilt homes of the Bajau Laut, a semi-nomadic community in Malaysia’s Borneo island. The state government defended its action as a security measure. Activist groups call for humane solutions and documentation for the stateless community, now homeless and struggling for basic needs.


PTI | Kualalumpur | Updated: 07-06-2024 17:34 IST | Created: 07-06-2024 17:34 IST
Displacement of Sea Nomads Sparks Human Rights Outcry in Borneo
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In a highly controversial move, rights activists have decried the forced displacement of hundreds of Bajau Laut individuals, after their stilt homes in Malaysia's Borneo island were demolished in a state-led operation. The government cited security concerns as the primary reason for the evictions, which have left the sea nomads homeless.

The Bajau Laut, often referred to as sea gypsies, are a semi-nomadic, stateless community living in floating villages or longboats off the coast of Sabah. Despite their long history in the region, many lack legal nationality documents, complicating their plight. Sabah's Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Christina Liew stated that the eviction notices had been issued a month prior to the demolition of 273 unauthorized settlements in the Tun Sakaran Marine Park, noted for its clear waters and diving attractions.

However, local advocacy groups, including Borneo Komrad, argue that the government's approach was inhumane. Families have been left sleeping on beaches or in the remnants of their homes, with no compensation or alternative shelters provided. Rights group Pusat Komas urged the government to address documentation issues and ensure fair treatment for the Bajau Laut people, who now face an uncertain future.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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