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Greenpeace legally registered in Indonesia, despite assertions to the contrary

Dispelling claims by critics that it operates illegally in Indonesia following two high-profile incidents with its non-Indonesian campaigners, Greenpeace Indonesia said it is legally registered to operate in the country.

“Greenpeace Indonesia is legally registered with the Ministry of Law and Human Rights of the Republic of Indonesia, No: AHU-128.AH.01.06. year 2009,” Nur Hidayati, Greenpeace’s country representative for Indonesia, told “This registration legalizes Greenpeace Indonesia as an Indonesian legal entity.”

Nur said that business-as-usual interests targeted by Greenpeace’s anti-deforestation campaign are looking for any way they can to shut down the organization.

“This kind of accusation has political background as now Parliament wants to re-enact Law No.8 year 1985 on community organizations (“ORMAS”).”

The law — which is strongly opposed by Indonesian civil society organizations — would give the Ministry of Home Affairs the authority to monitor the activity of non-profit groups. The law, which is written to be interpreted broadly, was used during the Suharto era to crackdown on critics of the government. The Ministry of Home Affairs controls provincial Satpol PP security forces.

Nur says Greenpeace may be a test case for parliament members seeking to re-enact the law. Indonesia Corruption Watch — which has exposed corruption at high levels of government — is also targeted.

Anti-Greenpeace rhetoric in Indonesia has increased since the group began targeting pulp and paper companies for deforestation in Sumatra. Last month, two prominent Greenpeace campaigners experienced immigration problems while at Jakarta’s international airport. Greenpeace director John Sauven was barred from entering Indonesia despite holding a valid business visa, while forest campaigner Andy Tait’s passport was stamped with a notice requiring him to leave the country within seven days as he departed for his flight back to the U.K. According to insiders, neither incident was authorized by the national police, the military, or the executive branch.

Curiously Sauven’s rejection at immigration was preceded by an unconfirmed report published in the media that he had been banned from the country. It also occurred the same day as the launch of an anti-Greenpeace site by a U.S. group that advocates for Indonesia’s pulp and paper industry.

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Why is Indonesia afraid of Greenpeace?

(10/18/2011) Last week Indonesian immigration officials in Jakarta blocked Greenpeace director John Sauven from entering the country. Sauven, who two weeks earlier had obtained the proper business visa for his visit from the Indonesian embassy in London, was scheduled to convene with his team in Jakarta, travel to the island of Sumatra, and meet with officials and Indonesian businesses at a forestry conference. The following day, Greenpeace campaigner Andrew Tait was harassed by unknown individuals who attempted to serve him with a deportation warrant.

Is Indonesia losing its most valuable assets?

(05/16/2011) Deep in the rainforests of Malaysian Borneo in the late 1980s, researchers made an incredible discovery: the bark of a species of peat swamp tree yielded an extract with potent anti-HIV activity. An anti-HIV drug made from the compound is now nearing clinical trials. It could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year and help improve the lives of millions of people. This story is significant for Indonesia because its forests house a similar species. In fact, Indonesia’s forests probably contain many other potentially valuable species, although our understanding of these is poor. Given Indonesia’s biological richness — Indonesia has the highest number of plant and animal species of any country on the planet — shouldn’t policymakers and businesses be giving priority to protecting and understanding rainforests, peatlands, mountains, coral reefs, and mangrove ecosystems, rather than destroying them for commodities?

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