In a press release issued by Greenpeace the organization states that Sinar Mas corporation security guards “brutally kicked and punched” peaceful protestors in Jakarta, Indonesia on March 19th. Greenpeace activists had chained themselves to the entrance of Sinar Mas headquarters and hung a banner labeling the corporation a ‘Forest and Climate Criminal’.
“The excessive violence today by Sinar Mas security is testament to the way this company does business. Sinar Mas may think they are above the law, but the right to peaceful protest is enshrined in the Indonesian constitution,” said Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Forest campaigner.
The largest logging and palm oil company in Indonesia, Sinar Mas and its subsidiaries have been accused of numerous environmental and human rights violations. Asian Pulp and Paper, an infamous subsiderary of Sinar Mas group, has been dropped by numerous US and Australian companies due to its environmental record.
“[Greenpeace] took action today because Sinar Mas and the Indonesian Government are failing to do so. We are facing the greatest threat to humanity – climate chaos – yet still companies like Sinar Mas continue to destroy forests and peatlands, rather than protecting them for future generations and, as is becoming increasingly clear, for climate stability,” said Maitar.
According to Greenpeace, Sinar Mas currently owns 20,000 hectares of rainforest in Indonesia which they plan to turn into oil palm plantations. In addition, the corporation is planning to acquire a further 1.1 million hectares in Papua New Guinea.
“Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is saying internationally that he will reduce Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions, yet Sinar Mas continue their forest destruction unabated. If he is serious about Indonesia being a global leader in solving the climate crisis, he must take immediate action to stop this company destroying Indonesia’s greatest asset – carbon rich forests and peatland,” urged Maitar.
Greenpeace is calling on the Indonesian government to put a moratorium on all forest conversion.
DR Congo, Indonesia, PNG, Tanzania, Vietnam win REDD funding for forest conservation
The United Nation’s REDD Program has approved $18 million in support of forest conservation projects in five pilot countries: Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania, and Viet Nam.
Rash of tiger attacks linked to deforestation by large paper corporation APP
The Sumatran tiger, a critically-endangered subspecies, is hanging on by a thread in its island home. Biologists estimate that at most 500 individuals remain with some estimates dropping as low as 250. Despite the animal’s vulnerability, large-scale deforestation continues in its habitat mostly under the auspices of one of the world’s largest paper companies, Asian Pulp and Paper (APP). Shrinking habitat and human encroachment has led to a rise in tragic tiger encounters, causing both human and feline mortalities.
New fire record for Borneo, Sumatra shows dramatic increase in rainforest destruction
Destruction of rainforests and peatlands is making Indonesia more susceptible to devastating forest fires, especially in dry el Niño years, report researchers writing in the journal Nature Geoscience. Constructing a record of fires dating back to 1960 for Sumatra and Kalimantan (on the island of Borneo) using airport visibility records to measure aerosols or “haze” prior to the availability of satellite data, Robert Field of the University of Toronto and colleagues found that the intensity and scale of fires has increased substantially in Indonesia since the early 1990s, coinciding with rapid expansion of oil palm plantations and industrial logging.
Clinton, Obama botch opportunity on climate, forest conservation
The Obama administration squandered a chance this week to show U.S. leadership on climate and forest conservation issues, when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, during a visit to Jakarta, failed to bring up a new Indonesian government decree allowing conversion of carbon-rich peat forests to oil-palm plantations.
Indonesia confirms that peatlands will be converted for plantations
Indonesia’s Minister for the Environment has approved a decree that will allow the conversion of carbon-rich peatlands for oil palm plantations, reports The Jakarta Post.