Wednesday, October 3, 2012

[biofuelwatch] New petition to save Tripa Peat Swamp Forest





***For Immediate Distribution***

03 October 2012

INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE

*Coalition to Save Tripa Peat Swamp Forest*

*“Historic Cancellation of Oil Palm Permit Opens Door for
Prosecution of Companies Crimes*

*Latest Satellite Image shows company still burning protected
peatlands"*

JAKARTA - Less than one week after history was made as the Aceh
Government revoked the first industrial palm oil permit from the Tripa
Peat Swamp Forest, a coalition of NGO’s known as ‘Save Tripa Peat
Forest’ highlighted today in a press briefing additional clear
breaches of Indonesia's multi million dollar forest protection
agreement with Norway, only kilometers from the first location, and
demanded National Police increase their activities to quickly bring
these crimes to trial.

Deddy Ratih, Forest Campaigner for Walhi (Friends of the Earth
Indonesia) explained “This continues to be a the leading test case
for a National problem. While the revocation of PT Kallista Alam is a
step in the right direction, there is still much more action required
by police and Government to resolve the problems in Tripa. The
Ministry of Environment continues to investigate a raft of the
envrionmental crimes in Tripa with no end in sight, meanwhile, the
legal testomonies of local communities to the National Police continue
to be ignored�

Kamarrudin, the lawyer representing local people and the environment
in the Tripa case, said, “There are strong indications that the
enforcement of the law in the Tripa case has been “hijacked� by
the financial power of corporations operating in the Tripa peat
swamps. This can be seen in the less than optimal work of the
provincial and national police, and the investigators of the Ministry
of the Environment. We request that the National Police Chief and the
Ministry of the Environment immediately evaluate the investigative
processes to date, and move forward with a thorough investigation of
the criminal crimes against spatial planning, plantation and
environmental laws and regulations in the Tripa peat swamps. We hope
that this case, that has drawn national and international attention,
will not be frozen by those with vested interests in the law
enforcement and government agencies. We also hold the Ministry of the
Environment to its promise to launch criminal and administrative
against companies that have committed serious environmental crimes in
the Tripa peat swamps�.

In an impassioned address, Adnan NS, a prominent Community leader from
Aceh stressed, “Despite the recent cancellation of the PT Kallista
Alam permit, and ongoing investigations into violations of the law by
this and other companies in Tripa, on the ground nothing has changed
yet. Community livelihoods continue to be destroyed, even though local
community leaders travelled all the way to Jakarta to report this to
the national police back in November 2011. We are still waiting for
action and demand to know why their testimonies have been ignored�.

“Over the last two months I’ve been on speaking tours of both the
USA and Australia, and all around the world people are continually
asking me about the situation in Tripa.� Said Dr Ian Singleton,
Conservation Director of the Sumatran Conservation Programme.
“International interest in the governance of Indonesia's remaining
forests and rapidly declining wild species populations is extremely
high, and to them my message is clear - anyone with a computer can now
check on forest clearance in Indonesia, measure and quantify it, and
get daily updates on illegal fires, and circulate that information
globally. As individuals we have never before had access to so much
quantifiable information in other parts of the world or the ability to
share it so widely and people around the world continue to be
extremely alarmed and concerned about Tripa, as what they see is that
so far nothing has yet changed. Unless the destruction is halted very
very quickly, we are still likely to see the local extinction of
Sumatran Orangutans from Tripa in the very near future.

“The forest concession known as Dua Perkasa Lestari (DPL) has been
marked as off-limits in all three releases of the Government’s
moratorium map, a tool designed to reduce carbon emissions from
deforestation and degradation, but satellite imagery from last week
clearly show that burning and illegal clearing of Tripa’s peat swamp
forests is still taking place. Furthermore, the DPL area has no clear
HGU permit, it clearly lies within the Leuser Ecosystem protected by
National Spatial Planning law 26/2007, and it contains peat over 3m
deep. There are three companies that have been the major burning
culprits, namely PT.SPS2, PT DPL and PT KA. We should pay greater
attention to this because it is in violation of Law No. 32/2009 on the
Environmental Protection and Management� explained Riswan Zen, a
Senior GIS mapping expert from the Univeristy of North Sumatra.

“Over 25,000 people have already signed a petition calling for
immediate action to halt the destruction of Tripa’s unique
ecosystem, from within Tripa itself, from Aceh, from Indonesia, and
from all over the world, contributing to the recent closure of the
illegal PT Kallista Alam concession. Now we, together with the local
community, are launching a new petition (at
http://www.change.org/savetripa2
) calling on Indonesia’s National Police to support the findings of
the REDD+ Taskforce and the Ministry of Environment, and immediately
escalate the cases under investigation to formal prosecutions. Much
more still needs to be done to protect the remaining forests of Tripa,
Aceh, and Indonesia as a whole. But the recent cancellation of the
illegal PT Kallista Alam concession is an historic legal precedent for
the country and it now needs to be followed up with the investigation
and processing of all law breakers, and prosecution for their
offences� Said Usman Hamid of Change.org <http://change.org/>
Indonesia.

Its up to all of us to take action to protect the environment, and it
can be as simple as signing a petition online, sharing it with your
friends, tweeting and using social media to make our country a better
place for all Indonesians,� said Melanie Subono. “I’m proud to
have signed the petition to save Tripa and to see our laws finally
being enforced. In fact, it is our duty as citizens to demand that our
laws be upheld, especially those protecting the environment we all
live in. Very soon I plan to visit Tripa and see the Orangutans, the
forests, and the destruction still taking place with my own eyes.
I’ll be going in close to 4 weeks time, and sincerely hope that
before I get there, the National Police will have finally begun to
take action on this globally important issue�

For further media comment or information, please contact:

*Dr Ian Singleton*

Director of Conservation, Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program

mokko123@gmail.com <mailto:mokko123@gmail.com>

*Deddy Raith*

Forest Campaigner, WALHI Indonesia (Friends of the Earth Indonesia)

ube.hitar@gmail.com <mailto:ube.hitar@gmail.com>

*Yuyun Indradi*

Political Campaigner, Greenpeace Indonesia

yuyun.indradi@greenpeace.org <mailto:yuyun.indradi@greenpeace.org>


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