Australian anti-mining activist blacklisted in Malaysia
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Australian anti-mining activist blacklisted in Malaysia

An Australian mining activist who joined Malaysians to rally against Lynas Corp. has been banned from entering Malaysia.

Sydney-based supporters for Natalie Lowrey said she was detained by customs officials upon arrival in  Malaysia.

Lowrey is reportedly put on a blacklist at police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur and she was expected to return to Australia Tuesday.

Supporters said she was refused entry because she is “an observer on the criminalisation of environmental defenders against Australian rare earth miner, Lynas.”

Lowrey and 15 Malaysians were arrested at a protest in June for pressing the Malaysian government to shut down operations of the Lynas Advanced Material Plant (LAMP) in Kuantan.

She was detained for six days before being released without charge. We understand that she was not notified that she could not return to the country. The other protestors are being tried under the Malaysia’s Penal Code.

“Their charges against the 15 peaceful Malaysian citizens arrested with me on June 22 must be dropped including the Gag order that was part of their bail conditions. I was released with no charge so why are they facing a trial, which if convicted, may include jail time?” Lowrey said.

Stop Lynas Campaign said concerned citizens across Malaysia are appealing to the international community to apply pressure on the Malaysian government and Lynas about the lack of transparency of waste management at the LAMP. Supporters have also criticized the police intimidation tactics against environmental defenders, including members of the grass roots movement Himpunan Hijau.

“The Malaysian government must allow the full enjoyment of environmental and human rights, including the right to defend rights and ensure that corporations operating within it’s country respect the rights of nature, people, and rights defenders,” continued Lowrey.

Local Kuantan resident Seet Ping and secretary of the grassroots movement Himpunan Hijau (Green Assembly) said LAMP poses serious threat of toxic and radioactive wastes in their locality. He added that the firm’s facilities were “quietly built in our backyards without us knowing about it, and day by day the toxic radioactive wastes are piling up in open storage ponds in the plant which is situated in a low lying swampy area exposed to yearly extreme monsoon weather.”

The campaign group said thousands of Malaysians have mobilised against Lynas over the past three years. “We have collected 1.2 million physical signatures within 36 days in a petition calling for the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) to be shut down. We want Lynas to pack up, clean up and get out of Malaysia.”

Lowrey said: “The neoliberal model of ‘development” is destroying the environment and pitting communities and eco-defenders against powerful corporations and colluding police and governments all around the world.”