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Report on sexual assaults of Penan women in December

KUALA LUMPUR, 22 Nov 2008: The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry will release next month its findings of the alleged sexual assaults of Penan women and girls by loggers in Sarawak.

Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said the special task force mobilised to probe into the claim when the scandal came into light in September, had just completed its investigation.   

“They have just returned from Sarawak. We have heard two sides of the story. Now we are waiting for the investigation report from the police.

“We will get down to the core of this matter and deal with it in the most transparent way,” she told reporters here today.

She said the ministry’s focus was to ensure the women’s rights were upheld, and this mean conducting DNA tests on the victims to track down the perpetrators if necessary.

The allegation surfaced when Bruno Manser Foundation posted an article on its website saying that it had received information from its Penan sources that young Penan women and schoolgirls had been raped by timber workers in the deep interior of Baram.

On another matter, Ng said the outcome of the Child Act 2001 review which was at the final stage, would be submitted to the cabinet early next year and probably tabled in Parliament by the end of next year.

She said the Act would be amended to include the Child Protection Policy and a major part of the policy was on the setting up of a mechanism to track down missing children.

A children department would also be set up by 2010 to deal with all aspects of children’s rights which included education, healthcare and welfare, she said.

Ng also said she would be leading a delegation comprising of officials from the Home Ministry, Attorney-General’s Chambers, non-governmental organisations and her ministry to the Third World Congress Against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents in Rio De Janeiro from 25 to 28 Nov.

She said the conference would address various issues on sexual exploitation of children and adolescents including trafficking of children for sexual purposes, child pornography and child labour. — Bernama


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