Lawyers arm themselves for native rights battles
The Bar Council today held a workshop on ‘Native Title Rights – the Issues, Claims and the Law’ at their premises today to arm lawyers with the fundamentals of the law and practice on native customary rights claims.
Co-organised by their Committee on Orang Asli Rights (COAR), Human Rights Committee and Professional Standards and Development Committee, the full day workshop
“The workshop has been very well received, and that is very encouraging. We have more than 70 participants, which include pupils in chambers and students,” said Malaysian Bar president Ragunath Kesavan (right) in a statement today.
“We hope that the workshop will create awareness of the many issues and challenges faced by the Orang Asli.
“We also hope that the participants, and other members of the Bar, will actively take up cases for the Orang Asli and represent their interest.”
The workshop invited lawyers knowledgeable and experienced in the field to provide training, and also featured speakers such as Colin Nicholas (director of the Centre for Orang Asli Concerns) and Prof Ramy Bulan (Centre for Indigenous Studies, Universiti Malaya) as well as representatives from the Orang Asli community.
The initiative follows their public forum on Oct 9 on the proposed amendments to the Aboriginal Peoples Act 1954.
About 190 Orang Asli attended the earlier event to talk about the exploitation, discrimination and deprivation of the livelihoods of their people, and raised the need for legal representation for their unique problems.
“In the wake of the forum, and our experience in dealing with Orang Asli claims, we need a large number of lawyers to represent the Orang Asli in court to expose the injustices that have been perpetrated against them,” said Kesavan.
“Their claims revolve around native customary rights to their ancestral lands and the denial of their economic, social, cultural and religious rights.”