Personal note: WELL DONE GREENPEACE. A CONSERVATION GROUP NOT AFRAID TO SPEAK OUT - AS WELL AS TAKE ACTION. UNLIKE MOST OTHER INTERNATIONAL GROUPS ...INCLUDING ONE(S)S YOU MAY SUPPORT, WHO FOR THE MOST PART REMAIN QUIET AND COWARDLY
Greenpeace calls on President to halt deforestation
Adianto P. Simamora , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Thu, 11/19/2009
Greenpeace Southeast Asia has sent a letter to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono calling on him to stop deforestation to meet his commitment to cut Indonesia’s CO2 emissions.
The letter was sent following the Tanjung Kampar incident in Riau in which the Pelalawan Police and Pekabaru immigration office deported foreign Greenpeace activists and journalists from the Greenpeace Climate Defenders Camp in Riau.
“Our message is that it is time for Yudhoyono to punish [those responsible for] deforestation, not climate defenders who support the government’s commitment to slashing emissions from forests,” Greenpeace forest campaigner Yuyun Indradi said Wednesday.
He said Yudhoyono needed to take tough action to protect the Semenanjung Kampar area as it was a unique wetland, dozens of meters deep in places, with the capacity to sequester billions of tons of CO2.
Greenpeace sets up the Climate Defenders Camp on Oct. 18 and placed huge banners in the area reading “Obama: You can stop this”, referring to US President Barack Obama who visited Singapore for the APEC summit last week.
Yuyun added that four international activists from Belgium, Germany, India and Italy were detained by the police Monday.
On Tuesday, Pelalawan Police handed over two foreign Greenpeace activists and two journalists to the Pekanbaru immigration office, to be deported to their respective countries for alleged visa violations.
Indian journalist Kum Kum and Italian journalist Raimondo Bultrini, work for the Hindustan Times and El Expresso respectively.
“Sir, in the interest of the environment and human rights, we call upon your office to please step in and stop these repressive actions by the police and immigration office against Greenpeace activists who are only carrying out peaceful activities within local communities to help expose and stop illegal forest destruction in Riau, in support of your commitment to reduce emissions,” the letter said.
“Such actions can only run counter to your government’s interests and threaten to harm the country’s reputation as a vibrant democracy,” it continued.
Two Greenpeace activists have been charged by Pelalawan Police for alleged disorderly conduct causing inconvenience to pulp and paper mill PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP).
Greenpeace lawyer Susilaningtyas said police were still questioning the two activists – Ejie Anugrah Romadoh and Bustar Maitar — as of Wednesday afternoon.
“They were questioned as suspects and have been charged with disorderly conduct,” Susilaningtyas told news portal tempointeraktif.com.
Pelawan Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Ary Rachman confirmed the charges.
“We questioned them following a report filed by RAPP,” he said.
So far, 23 activists have been named as suspects after staging a protest against the pulp and paper firm last Wednesday.
Dianningsih Antono, president of April Indonesia, which owns RAPP, said his company used environmentally friendly methods in managing the Semenanjung Kampar area.
“The plantation ring developed by RAPP was designed as a buffer zone to protect the peatland in Tanjung Kampar,” Dianningsih said in a statement Wednesday.
Yudhoyono has promised to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent by 2020 from the energy and forestry sectors. He pledged to further cut emissions by 41 percent by 2020 if developed countries gave financial support to assisit Indonesia to do this.
Indonesia contains the world’s third-largest expanse of forests with about 120 million hectares of tropical forests.