Malaysia: Timber giant Samling withdraws lawsuit against SAVE Rivers
"Timber giant Samling withdraws lawsuit against Indigenous forest defenders," 18 September 2023
...[T]wo years after Samling filed a defamation lawsuit against Indigenous grassroots organization SAVE Rivers — the logging company has dropped the case- The lawsuit was scheduled for trial today... but was canceled after a last minute settlement. Samling originally sought an apology, an injunction stopping SAVE Rivers from reporting community claims... and damages in the sum of RM5,000,000. The disputed articles... remain on the SAVE Rivers website without edits. They describe the weak community consultations in logging concessions managed by Samling and the company’s inadequate handling of community complaints. The withdrawal follows the publication of a joint statement between the two parties.
The Gerenai Community Rights Action Committee (GCRAC), a community organization with representatives from villages that have territories within the Gerenai Forest Management Unit (FMU), gathered in front of the... Court to celebrate the victory...
... The United Nations Special Rapporteurs on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights Defenders agreed that the lawsuit may be classified as a Strategic Lawsuit against Public Participation (SLAPP) designed to silence SAVE Rivers from speaking out.
Meenakshi Raman, President of Sahabat Alam Malaysia – Friends of the Earth Malaysia, commented on the closure of the case: “The withdrawal of this lawsuit by Samling shows that people power reigns and corporations should think twice before filing any vexatious lawsuits against environmental defenders. The aim should not be to silence critics but to work towards ensuring that people and the environment are always above profits.”
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