For a Living Ocean

Stateless Sama Dilaut Boat Nomads Put in Indonesian Camp

676 Sama Dilaut have been put in a camp for illegal fishermen in Tanjung Batu in Indonesia. They came in their houseboats from Semporna, from where thay had been chased away by the Malaysian authorities because they have no legal documents and are thought to distrurb the tourists.Di Lao Berau Post

At the same time, the newly elected government in Indonesia wants to stop illegal fishermen and they have made several raids in the ocean outside of Kalimantan where hundreds of boats have been seized (among them the Sama houseboats).

The Sama Dilaut were initially supposed to be released and sent back to Malaysian waters on December 17 and, but Malaysia and Indonesia are still arguing about who’s responsibility it is to handle the problem. As most Sama Dilaut are stateless no one wants to take the responsibility. Sama nomads are stuck between two national states – even if they have moved into these waters for centuries

Berau Post and a Swedish newspaper, Sydsvenskan, have reported from the incident but others seem to be silent. They have been in the camp for over a month.

3 responses

  1. Its Sad that these Badjau are neglected and unclaimed IPs, Its TRUE that they keep moving from Island to another but if we take them as human being who have RIGHTS like us, they deserve to access any other services that they need like anybody of us. In the Philippines we tried very hard through the National task Force for Sama Badjau that ended up reaching them the way they understood life. Our government work harder on their mainstreaming but its not only that, the sustainability and their displacement is above our heads, considering of their cultural manifestation that is also hard for any stakeholders to twist. education of the young generation is beginning to materialize but we need to do more…The Badjau sector is the only left IPs begging on the street during yuletide season, others were given their ancestral domain and stayed however the our Badjau people remained on the street but slowly are being attended by providing them CASH for WORK,they are unskilled that is why its really difficult to refer or offer them something for their livelihood or source of living, they moved to the urban setting for begging and remained very poor. Our DSWD is offering them Modified conditional Cash Transfer scheme some have basic understanding but most are adjusting with the Conditions-Its a hard work, we tried to recommend Badjau Facilitators to motivate and mobilize themselves, it does not work always. INDONESIA and MALAYSIA must work together for their well being,Its NO USE disclaiming them nor turning them OUT. You have to help them stand and make use of themselves, we have to design programs where they can participate according to their limitations. I would recommend that Malaysia and Indonesia accepts them even they are not theirs, they are not nobody’s humanity but mother nature. we also encourage them to uplift and uphold their dignity by advocacies initiatives for the public raising awareness to reduce Discrimantion and oblige the government to design programs that exclusively will serve the badjau sector, it can be dole outs but later we anticipate that they will help themselves and stand up to help their own. Malaysia and Indonesia must also provide them a place that they can CALL their own.

    December 29, 2014 at 8:19 am

    • Hi, Malou Postre von Arx! Thanks for you blog comment! Yes, it is absolutely clear that Bajau Laut (Sama Dilaut) must get their basic rights respected. Unfortunetely, they don’t. They are discriminated wherever they go and can seldom find a piece of land or water where they can settle with comfort.

      I think that Bajau Lauts situation is similar to the situation of the Roma people in Europe. Roma people have for long been badly treated in many European countries. Many Roma without permanent settlements are occassionall forced to move from their camps – even if it is in the middle of the night. European authorities have often recognized Roma people as “nomadic” and it has been believed that it is a part of their “nature” to live on the move and in poor living conditions.

      I think that Bajau are facing the same kind of prejudices. Of course, Bajau Laut have a unique culture and they have a deep relationship to the ocean which is reflected in their language. But of course it is not in their nature to always be on the move from migration authorities, to beg in the streets and to live in owercrowded boats or houses.

      As a matter of fact: as a result of poverty their culture is slowly dying. They can’t practise their religion and the Sama children will not learn about their culture, but how to survive in the streets.

      We can’t accept poverty and insecurity and choice to do nothing, just because they are Bajau … or just because they are ”Roma”. The Sama Dilaut must be seen as human beings, with basic human rights and needs – just as you and me.

      Malou, you are right about that the Indonesian and Malaysian authorities have to take their responsibility. The Sama Dilaut can’t return to Sulu in Philippines, where there have been unrest for a long time. What they need is a safe place where they can provide for their families, get health care and get schooling – without living in fear of migration authorities.

      December 30, 2014 at 3:52 pm

  2. ASEAN Communities can be UNITED to work on this issue. Its about time we collaborate with each other and look upon our own backyards, in the context of NO one should be LEFT Out with the respect of RIGHTS and Human dignity. I had been working as a Non-Government Organization’s stakeholder in Social Welfare Agency for Filipino Children and felt that some of the DESIGNED programs is lesser culturally based sensitive that is why our group called SUN FOR ALL CHILDREN committed to collaborate and In Partnership was signed to meet with the government for the purpose of the insertion of the BADJAU sector as their priority because if we attended to them TEN YEARS ago, we will never have them ROAM around the STREET for begging now a days. I Have HOPE that our government will facilitate more efficient projects to address the problems, they are now starting to MOVILIZE the Local Government Units that is occupied by the Badjau communities for begging. They are now BUILDING 145 Houses for them to start with one LGU in Cabanatuan City that the Badjau Families can call their own. Another is 600 houses intended I heard to invite Badjau families who squat and scattered Region 3. Its not easy for the other accepting community because they FEAR too that they will be later disturbed by the sector. Initially together with the government’s effort we tried to facilitate in mobilizing themselves to help and accept the Badjau as they should move on and do something for their survival, its hard as difficult as how we all live in the jungle but I have faith that if we work hand in hand, its not too FAR, we just have to find the right way and do everything in a better way. In the National Capital Region we situated and pulled resources from DSWD-NCR to share it with three LGUs (Manila,Paranaque and Taguig) in order for us to REACH OUT for the sector, it maybe costly but we are at the same time working with the Faith Based groups, Academe and other NGOs seeking to be more RESPONSIVE for the Sector’s need. One effort I was able to say and define is where are they DURING Disaster, it was identified during our discussion and let everyone THOUGHT of where are the Indigenous Person’s CHILDREN (IPs)in the Child Protection in Emergencies? as we talk about culturally sensitive among others. Lastly, When you have HOPE you always find a way, there are many CHILDREN who failed the BASIC Education and they are now turning ADULTS….the question is, how about the NEW born after 2000?are we going to LEAVE them uneducated? I believe that we can also do something for them with out forgetting their CULTURE, I agree that we have to PRESERVE their Values, Virtues and Love of Life. We have to make our efforts and PERSEVERE in the implementation-political will is utmost pre-requisite if there is none, we are all doomed. By the way, There are two groups to be attended those who stayed in their impoverish situation and those who LEFT the Islands and roam around and survive living like a RAT. If we miss one, we will end up in the same Basket Ten Years from now. These people are human they are one of US, what the Society possess must be shared with them, we should look after them if we WANT to live in Harmony with mother Nature and If we are sensitive of our own creation with human dignity-only if we have SHAME in us we will not allow anybody starved to death. MPV 1/3/2015

    January 2, 2015 at 11:20 pm

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