BY GURDIAL SINGH NIJAR
(Deputy President, HAKAM)
A RECENT majority Federal Court decision dealt a fatal blow to the customary rights of indigenous peoples to freely access the forest for food, medicines and such like.
Such a right has existed since time immemorial as universally recognised. Indeed the immense contribution of traditional knowledge associated with the forest resources to modern medicine has been acknowledged by the World Health Organisation.
In the Bakun Dam case the Appeals Court pronounced that the forest provided the sustenance of life for indigenous peoples.