PRESS RELEASE: Actions from around the world calling on Indonesian president SBY to publicly support enforcing Indonesian law.
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PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION
From: Coalition to Save Tripa Peat Forest
Actions from around the world calling on Indonesian president SBY to publicly support enforcing Indonesian law.
[JAKARTA / INDONESIA] Today actions took place in 7 countries from around the world calling on Indonesian President SBY to publicly add his voice to current demands by others within Indonesia’s government for an urgent legal investigation and enforcement of Indonesian laws to punish criminal activities resulting in the illegal destruction of the Tripa Peat Swamp Forest.
Participants in Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, USA, UK, Germany, and Brazil, among others have created protest messages calling for Indonesia to “enforce the law, save tripa” as part of growing pressure that the Government and Police uphold National Laws.
“Five months ago, a criminal report was filed with Indonesia’s National Police” said Acehnese lawyer, Kamarrudin, “an order was then made by the National Police to the Provincial Police in Aceh to investigate the illegal issuance of a new palm oil permit to the company PT Kallista Alam by the then Governor of Aceh, Irwandi Yusuf, that clearly violates National Spatial Planning law No 26/ 2007.
The Central Police order confirmed that the case meets the requirements for a criminal investigation and was a clear direction to the Aceh Police to investigate. But 5 months later, we have seen no evidence of any attempt at an investigation by police at any level. On the contrary, it appears that the Aceh Police are even working for the company in question. We see the continued destruction of Tripa through ongoing land clearing, drainage of the swamps via illegally cut canals, and huge fires, which according to the Indonesian Government’s REDD+ taskforce were illegally lit by the companies to burn and clear land. The inability of the police to offer any results of an investigation, even after 5 months, is not only allowing the destruction of Tripa to continue unabated, but also seriously undermining the credibility of Indonesia in the international spotlight to uphold and enforce its own national laws” he continued.
“Furthermore, we have now also seen Indonesia’s own REDD+ taskforce release a report highlighting the ongoing destruction, noting violations of several additional laws, and calling on the national police to take immediate action. In addition to the National Spatial Planning Laws, they consider there is ample evidence of infractions by several companies with oil palm plantations in Tripa. Laws broken include Law No.18/2004 concerning Plantations, Law No.32/2009 concerning Living Environment Protection and Management, and Presidential Decree No. 32/1990 concerning Protected Area Management.”
Last year, at a Conference hosted by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Indonesia President SBY addressed leaders of Indonesia’s government, the business community and civil society, as well as foreign donors, including Norway and the UK. He publicly declared “I will continue my work and dedicate the last three years of my term as President to deliver enduring results that will sustain and enhance the environment and forests of Indonesia. If it weren’t for the benefits that our forests provide, then our way of life, our people, our economy, our environment and our society would be so much the poorer”.
But what we see on the ground instead is more like the neglect of the Indonesian people, local communities and the environment. Local communities see almost no benefits of the conversion of their environment to large scale oil palm plantations. Instead they only lose their livelihoods, based on the many natural resources and ecosystem services provided by an environment like Tripa. Hence local leaders filed their report of the criminal case to the National Police. Surprisingly, the official map associated with the President’s moratorium on new plantations in primary forests and peatlands showing areas “off limits to new plantations” had millions of hectares removed in a revision published in November 2011, long after the new Kallista Alam plantation was granted, allegedly only because of “lobbying by large companies”, often operating outside the law, with no other explanation offered. The situation in Tripa is a classic example of what is taking place all across the country. Deddy Ratih, a forest campaigner at WALHI (Friends of the Earth Indonesia) pointed out “President SBY also publicly stated the need to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. The question now remains, is he a man of action or a man of hollow words?.”
For further comments, please contact:
Walhi / Friends of the Earth Indonesia Forest Campaigner:
Mobile: +62 81250 8077 57
Acehnesse Lawyer representing Community and Environment in Tripa Case
Mobile: +62 8116 7001 18
Note to editors:
President SBY (CIFOR) press statement available here:
REDD+ Taskforce Report Press Release available here:
Photos from Actions around the Globe available here:
Our friend from Milwaukee County Zoo in Wisconsin, USA has helped us put together a poster people can use for International Day of Action. Feel free to use them. However, if you’re feeling creative you can create your own poster or a message written on a piece of paper with a message saying:
Press Release: Call for Enforcement of Law against illegal activity destroying Tripa’s Peat Swamps continues to escalate
JOINT PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Distribution
Call for Enforcement of Law against illegal activity destroying Tripa’s Peat Swamps continues to escalate
FROM: Alliance of Environmental and Human Rights NGOs
Wetlands International Indonesia Program
Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari
Yayasan Ekosistem Sigom Aceh
PanEco Foundation – Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme
Yayasan Orangutan Sumatera Lestari –OIC
The Nature Conservancy
Profauna Indonesia LASA
Orangutan Foundation International
Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation
Flora and Fauna International
Centre for Orangutan Protection
Yayasan IAR Indonesia
Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trusts
Forum Konservasi Orangutan Sumatera
Institute Pertanian Bogor (IPB)
Universitas Indonesia (UI)
Universitas Nasional (UNAS)
Environmental and Human Rights NGO’s are increasing their campaign to save the Tripa Peat Swamp Forest.
Human rights and Environmental NGOs, Academic and other Civil Society groups met today at a meeting hosted by the Research Centre for Climate Change, University of Indonesia, in the campaign to save Rawa Tripa, following reports of increased intimidation of local villagers by palm oil companies and of health problems associated with smoke from fires illegally set to clear peat lands, with some villagers from communities surrounding Tripa requiring medical treatment. Local people have already lost their livelihoods due to the massive clearance of this unique wetland forest for oil palm, which is now threatening its total destruction. Numerous huge fires were reported by ground and aerial observers at the end of March, and over 100 fire hotspots were recorded by satellite in a period of only 10 days, the highest frequency of hotspots recorded in Tripa since records began in 2001. The head of the President’s Satgas REDD+ team, Ir. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, in a press release of 13 April reported that his investigation team found fires had been deliberately set in the concessions of PT Kallista Alam and PT Surya Panen Subur 2, breaking several laws and regulations and causing negative environmental impacts. These fires caught the world’s attention when Sumatran orangutan experts warned of the imminent extinction of the species in Tripa, a UNEP/UNESCO GRASP global priority site for the species, before the end of 2012.
Pak Ibduh a village head representing the local communities of Tripa added, “The communities are living in fear of the companies. They use brimob (Indonesia’s mobile police brigade) as a private security force, evicting people from their land, preventing access across plantations and clearing local landowners farms for palm oil. The palm oil companies seem to operate as if they are above the law and we see the results every day. Clean water supplies are vanishing and it is increasingly difficult to catch fish and obtain other natural resources as the forests are cleared and drained by the many canals. Our people are suffering and we want immediate action to stop this and restore Tripa’s forests”.
Pak Ibduh joined lawyer, Kamaruddin, and former senator of Aceh, Adnan NS, in Jakarta in late November last year to file a report of a criminal offence with the National Police. “The central police then issued a letter to the police of Aceh to investigate the case, in which they confirmed that it does meet the criteria for a criminal investigation, but as of now, nearly 5 months later, we have not seen any attempt at an investigation from the Aceh Provincial Police” stated Kamaruddin
In the press release of April 13, Ir. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, also announced that his investigation team reported indications of several other violations such as the converting of peat swamp forests inside the Leuser Ecosystem, converting peat swamp forest on deep peat, and converting forest before a permit had been issued. He has formally requested an immediate investigation by the Ministry of the Environment and the National Police. Four days later, on April 17th, the Jakarta Globe newspaper reported that the Environment Ministry said it will launch an investigation into the issuance of a plantation concession inside the Tripa peat swamp forest in Aceh province.
We the NGO’s gathered here today at the Research Center for Climate Change, University of Indonesia, fully support the call of the Satgas REDD+ for an immediate investigation into the crimes committed in Tripa, including the criminal case filed with the National Police by Pak Ibduh in November last year and request an explanation of why it has not yet been properly followed up. We also express our full support to WALHI (Friends of the Earth Indonesia) in their legal challenge against the concession issued to PT Kallista Alam by the former Governor of Aceh in their appeal at the high court in Medan, North Sumatra.
We request that the responsible National Ministries, namely the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of the Environment, and the Ministry of Forestry order an immediate halt to all deforestation and land degradation in the Tripa peat swamps. We request that these Ministries assist the National Police to quickly implement a thorough investigation of all illegal activities and dealings that have been perpetrated in the Tripa peat swamps, including the illegal PT. Kallista Alam concession permit and land use practices that contravene laws on National Spatial Planning, and those protecting the Leuser Ecosystem, the environment, peatlands, endangered species, and that forbid the burning of land.
In the face of such blatant and widely publicized law-breaking it is imperative that the laws of Indonesia be upheld openly and transparently, and that guilty parties be held accountable to the full extent of the law. Failure to do so will further damage the credibility of Indonesia’s law enforcement and legal system, its commitment to GHG emissions reduction, and its attempt to develop sustainable palm oil,and without urgent and immediate action, if current destruction is allowed by President SBY and the Indonesian Government, then the critically endangered Sumatran Orangutan population is likely to become extinct this year.
We simply want to see Indonesia’s laws enforced. We support and encourage the forthcoming International Day of Action on April 26th, where supporters and partners from around the world will be taking action calling on Indonesian President SBY to publicly state his support to enforce Indonesian laws, protecting Tripa, the community of the region, and its Sumatran Orangutan population. Without immediate action, then Tripa’s unique population of the Critically Endangered Sumatran orangutan, at this continued rate of destruction, will be gone by the end of this year.
Notes for Editors:
The press release following the report delivered by REDD+ Taskforce is
available for download, with contact details here:
For further comment or contact,
Teguh Surya: Walhi / Friends of the Earth Indonesia; Mobile: +62-8118204362 Email: email@example.com
Yuyun Indradi, Greenpeace / Forest Political Campaigner; Mobile: +62-812 2616 1759 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Ian Singleton, Director of Conservation / Sumatran Orangutan Conservation programme. Mobile: +62-811650491 Email email@example.com
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ACTION
calling on Indonesian President SBY to:
ENFORCE THE LAW
SAVE THE SUMATRAN ORANGUTANS
PROTECT THE TRIPA PEAT FORESTS
ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS
Thursday 26th April – Location: Worldwide
Take a photo with you and your friends in front of your local landmark
holding a sign with a message to Indonesian President SBY calling on
him to Enforce the law & save the Sumatran Orangutans and Peat Forests
of Tripa and add your support to all the messages around the world
calling for action not words to save Tripa.
Please register your interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for
a full information pack.
An article written by Dr. Ian Singleton, director of SOCP (Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program) about the fate of Orangutan when their home range being taken away by companies
Today an Orangutan confiscation team comprising staff and a veterinarian from the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP: PanEco Foundation and Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari) local armed police, and field staff from BKSDA Aceh (the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry’s nature conservation agency in Aceh) successfully confiscated a 2 year old orphan Sumatran orangutan from a location where it is was being detained illegally as a pet in a rural village in Aceh Barat Daya District, close to the Tripa peat swamp forests in Aceh Province, Indonesia.
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Confiscation of illegally held orphan Sumatran Orangutan
ILLEGAL ‘PET’ ORPHAN ORANGUTAN SAVED IN SUMATRA
NEAR TRIPA PEAT SWAMP FORESTS
[Aceh Province – Sumatra – Indonesia]
Today an Orangutan confiscation team comprising staff and a veterinarian from the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP: PanEco Foundation and Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari) local armed police, and field staff from BKSDA Aceh (the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry’s nature conservation agency in Aceh) successfully confiscated a 2 year old orphan Sumatran orangutan from a location where it is was being detained illegally as a pet in a rural village in Aceh Barat Daya District, close to the Tripa peat swamp forests in Aceh Province, Indonesia. (full release available upon request, please email email@example.com)
For further comment or information please contact:
Dr Ian Singleton
Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program
+628 1156 0491
Environmental group, the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), may have lost the first battle in its fight against deforestation in Tripa Peat Swamp, Aceh, but the group have now won support from a government-sanctioned task force.
The Reducing Emissions for Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) task force visited the area last month when Walhi, and other local green groups, were awaiting a verdict on a lawsuit they had filed against the Aceh administration for issuing a concession permit to PT Kallista Alam.
The Aceh Administrative Court delivered its verdict in favor of the administration on April 3 and Walhi filed an appeal the day after.
Outgoing Aceh governor Irwandi Yusuf had signed the permit last August, allowing the company to convert a 1,605-hectare plot of protected peatland forest in the Nagan Raya district into oil palm plantations.
Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan plans to visit Aceh later this month to meet with the newly elected governor Zaini Abdullah and discuss forestry conditions in Aceh, including the Tripa peat land.
The Forestry Ministry’s spokesman, Sumarto Suharno, said the ministry had banned the issuance of new permits since 2009. “The outgoing Aceh governor signed the new permit in 2011, two years after the ban was imposed,” he said.
Environmental activists also have pointed out that the Tripa peat land area is part of the Leuser ecosystem and that the permit jeopardizes a moratorium on forest clearing, which was issued in June 2011.
The moratorium map initially covered 10.7 hectares of peat land, including the Tripa Peat Swamp, protecting them against new permits.
However, the Tripa peat-land area was removed from the map through a forestry ministerial decree, issued last November, because data from the National Land Agency (BPN) indicated that the area was suitable for commercial development.
According to a report issued by the Presidential Unit for the Supervision and Control of Development (UKP3S), led by Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, who is also the REDD task force chairman, the company, which should never have received the permit, had allegedly begun clearing the land prior to the permit’s issuance.
“Walhi and the REDD task force found out that the company had used a slash-and-burn method to clear the area. The fires were within a 12-kilometer radius,” Walhi Aceh’s head of advocacy and campaigns, M. Nizar Abdurrani, said on Tuesday.
He added that many animals, such as deer and anteaters, which had managed to escape the flames by entering local villages, had been killed by locals. The REDD task force findings that were released recently supported the activists’ claims.
In a press release made available to The Jakarta Post, the team said that PT Kallista Alam’s plantation was located within the Leuser ecosystem zone. Based on a sampling, they also discovered that the area was covered in thick moss and was part of protected peat-land forest.
The task force has determined that the Aceh administration could also be charged under the 2004 Plantations Law; the 2009 Environmental Protection and Management Law; and the 2007 Spatial Planning Law. (tas
BREAKING NEWS : Sumatran Orangutan Rescue Highlights Action Not Words Needed to Save Orangutan Population in Tripa Peat Swamp Forest, Indonesia.
For immediate Distribution
The Coalition to Save Tripa Peat Swamp Forest
Sumatran Orangutan Rescue Highlights Action Not Words Needed to Save Orangutan Population in Tripa Peat Swamp Forest, Indonesia.
[TRIPA - ACEH PROVINCE - SUMATRA - INDONESIA]
Today a specialist Orangutan rescue team from the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP), Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari (YEL) and BKSDA Aceh (the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry’s nature conservation agency in Aceh) successfully rescued a large adult male orangutan trapped in a small pocket of forest in the Tripa peat swamps, surrounded by encroaching palm oil plantations.
The large Sumatran orangutan was identified by YEL field staff as being at high risk as the small forested area in which he was isolated is continuously encroached upon for palm oil. The area measuring less than 1 hectare and situated very near the northern end of a palm oil concession currently being contested legally in court, was bare of fruit, and the large Sumatran orangutan was already showing signs of malnutrition. “We first saw this orangutan about 3 months ago and it looks like he’s lost around 30% of his body weight since then”, noted SOCP veterinarian drh Yenny Saraswati, who carried out the capture. “If we hadn’t rescued him now he would eventually have starved to death”, she added. “we’ve rescued several orangutans like this in Tripa over the last few years. We don’t like doing it, its risky for the animals as after they’re darted they fall from the tree and can get serious injuries, like broken bones. It would be much better for them if they could simply stay in the forests, but if the forests are disappearing, we have to try to do something!”
Indrianto, a field worker with YEL, explained, “In these situations it really is a race against time. Many orangutans get killed or captured by plantation workers, some ending up as illegal pets. The orangutan we rescued today had already begun eating the shoots of oil palm seedlings nearby, as he had nothing else to eat, and would almost certainly have been killed for this if we hadn’t intervened.”
“Several palm oil companies are continuing to destroy the habitat of the Critically Endangered orangutans in Tripa, including PT Kallista Alam and PT Surya Panen Subur 2, both of whose concessions begin just a few hundred meters from the rescue location. This is despite a number of legal investigations into their activities”, said SOCP Director Dr Ian Singleton. “We have been forced to take action and rescue this Sumatran orangutan today as otherwise he would have starved to death, and many other orangutans in Tripa are facing the same fate, if legal actions against those companies breaking national laws cannot immediately stop the destruction”.
“The Tripa peat swamp forest supports the highest density of orangutans anywhere on earth, but is still being cleared by palm oil companies who think they are beyond the reach of the law. The situation is urgent and requires action, not words, to save Tripa’s remaining orangutans”.
The Head of the Indonesian Government’s special REDD+ Task Force, Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, yesterday announced an immediate detailed investigation to determine if land allocation for palm oil plantations in Tripa has been in accordance with prevailing national laws and administrative procedures, and if the plantation companies are operating on the ground in accordance with national laws.
He demanded that the Ministry of the Environment and the Head of the Indonesian National Police conduct further investigations. If legal evidence of lawbreaking is found, he expects that the Ministry of the Environment and the National Police will take appropriate actions to bring a halt to these activities, to penalize the offenders, and to recover the losses caused by ecosystem degradation within the Leuser Ecosystem National Strategic Area.
These comments and instructions from the head of the REDD+ task force are extremely welcome, and very much supported, but right now Tripa’s peat swamp forests continue to be cleared and drained. The swamps are criss-crossed by a vast network of canals draining this unique wetland ecosystem 24 hours a day, threatening to drain all life out of the remaining forests. . An immediate order needs to be made from President SBY to cease all land clearing activities and palm oil operations while the Ministry of Environment and the National Police gather evidence for prosecution. The companies need to be ordered to cease all activities immediately, and the drainage canals need to be blocked as soon as possible.
For further media comment please contact:
Dr Ian Singleton, Director Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program
Mobile; +62-811 650 491
Yuyun Indradi, Greenpeace / Forest Political Campaigner;
Mobile: +62-812 2616 1759