December 2012: The Sumatran orangutan is losing habitat fast. Pristine forest in Indonesia is being carved up, set on fire and converted into palm oil plantations at a shocking pace. The drive for profit is seeing palm oil companies also move into areas of protected forest – like the Tripa Peat Swamp Forest in Aceh. Home to many iconic species, including the densest population of the last remaining 6,600 Sumatran orangutans, Tripa is also a critical carbon storehouse for the planet.
The destruction of Tripa is having disastrous consequences: for the wildlife and biodiversity which is perishing with it, for the local communities whose livelihoods depend upon it, and for all the rest of us as carbon emissions escalate. Tragically, over 80% of orangutans in Tripa forest are estimated to have perished as a result of this habitat destruction.
But in a case that could make history, two palm oil companies are now facing court for operating illegally in Tripa. The tireless efforts of local and international NGOs have pushed this issue forward and it is about to become a real test case for Indonesia. If the law is upheld and the law-breakers are punished then there is hope for protecting other areas of forest in Indonesia in the future. If not, the law loses even more ground and greed gets the green light. International public pressure is urgently needed to help uphold Indonesia’s environmental laws and to take a stand against this blatant exploitation for the benefit of so few. Please add your voice and help show that the world is watching this case.
What you can do right now:
1. Sign this petition to demand that the law be upheld in the Tripa case:
2. Find out more and donate to the campaign at:
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JAKARTA, KOMPAS – Civil investigator from the Ministry of Environment on Tuesday (22/05) afternoon started hearing of witnesses of the burning of Leuser Ecosystem’s Tripa Peat Swamp in Aceh’s Nagan Raya District. The witnesses are from the management of PT Kalista Alam and PT Surya Panen Subur 2.
“This hearing is the follow-up on the onsite investigation conducted several times ago. Two witnesses from the companies attended the hearing. Next week we are going to invite witnesses from the local government, such as from the District Office of Forestry, Agriculture and other related offices,” said Deputy of Environmental Law Enforcement of the Ministry of Environment, Sudariyono, in Jakarta.
While in Nagan Raya, the team has interview the witnesses from local community, filed to strengthen the findings of the investigator.
Sudariyono put forward that the investigator team has found that area of Tripa Peat Swamp was cleared by burning for oil palm plantation. The burning violates the Article 108 of the Law No. 32/2009 on the Environmental Protection and Management, charge with the minimum of 3 years up to 10 years in prison and fined with the minimum of IDR 3 billion up to 10 billion.
Besides the criminal aspect, the investigator also applied civil rights, as there is environmental destruction caused by the fire resulting in state loss. “The indemnity is still being calculated. The civil process is in parallel to the criminal lawsuit,” said Sudariyono.
The case emerged after WALHI and several others NGOs in Aceh filed a lawsuit against the Governor of Aceh based on the issuance of a permit for 1,605 ha within the area of LEuser Ecosystem. The Administrative Court in Banda Aceh rejected to make a verdict.
The awkwardness of the permit issuance alerted the Development Supervision and Control Division of the Presidential Working Unit (UKP4).
Meanwhile, the Director of PT Surya Panen Subur, Eddy Sutjahyo Busiri, said that his company did not set the fire, but was a victim of the fire set by the neighbouring plantation. “We reported directly to the police and local environmentalists to witness the fire themselves,” he said