Greenpeace director refused entry to Indonesia following smear campaign

Posted by jamie — 13 October 2011 at 11:38am - Comments
Deforestation near Bukit Tiga Puluh National Park, Sumatra
All rights reserved. Credit: Ulet Infansasti/Greenpeace
Have visa, can't travel: John Sauven was due to visit deforested areas in Sumatra

In a bizarre turn of events usually seen in a John le Carré novel, the executive director of Greenpeace UK has been refused entry into Indonesia. Arriving at Jakarta's international airport earlier today, John Sauven was blocked from entering the country by immigration officials and is being deported, despite obtaining a business visa without any problems. What on earth's going on?

He travelled to Indonesia to discuss plans with the campaign team in Jakarta, to visit Sumatra, and to take part in discussions with various officials and Indonesian companies.

Shortly after John was issued with a visa in London two weeks ago, stories appeared in the Indonesian media claiming that John had been refused a visa and that he had already been turned away from Indonesia when he tried to enter the country for a forestry conference.  

This was a little odd, given that he hadn't set foot outside the UK at that time, hadn’t planned to attend the conference, and had already been given his visa for today’s trip. Clearly there are some influential forces behind these false claims.

We've been given no official explanation why John was refused entry, but it's the latest in a series of challenges to our Indonesian team, at the same time that we’ve increased our campaign pressure against the notorious pulp and paper company Asia Pulp and Paper.

Over the past few months, there have been a number of attempts to undermine our work in Indonesia to halt the country's spiralling deforestation rates. Accusations have made about the legal status of our Indonesian office and the source of its funding, none of which hold any water, while small demonstrations have also been organised outside our office in Jakarta. It has been challenging for Greenpeace staff and volunteers there to say the least.

From the nature of the timing, there's a lot to suggest that this is an orchestrated campaign driven by the various interests that don’t want to change their destructive business practices. And if those interests have to go the lengths of barring legitimate entry into Indonesia for one person and planting false claims in the media, it shows they are getting very worried about the impact our campaign to stop deforestation in Indonesia is having.

Maybe if you stopped telling lies about the land use in Indonesia they would be kinder to you. You know that there are 100s of thousands of hectr=ares of National Parks and forest reserves on Sumatra. You also know that there are 230,000,000 people who need to eat. It was fine for Britain to deforest most of the country for agriculture, but not good enough that Indonesia has protected a far larger percentage of its natural ecosystems than European countries. You are a bunch of opportunistic media hounds.

Yeah, Patrick..Your comments make it easy to forget that 85 percent of Sumatra's forests have been destroyed by commercial logging and conversion to agriculture. Greenpeace is doing necessary work to help preserve what is left so that it doesn't disappear due to massive corporation's interests. Obviously you don't care about that.

Protection is one thing, enforcement quite another, and Asia Pulp and Paper has cleared forests mapped as tiger habitat. That's hardly responsible practice. Plus there are a lot of unsupported claims about the contributions made by the timber and plantation industries to the social and economic well-being of Indonesia.

But I'm intrigued. Are you the same Patrick Moore who has been employed by Asia Pulp and Paper to produce studies and reports to give the impression that the company actually has any environmental credentials?

i think that it is wrong for greenpeace to be refused entry. and i think Patric is really wrong!

i think that it is wrong for greenpeace to be refused entry. and i think Patric is really wrong!

I have just seen an anti-greenpeace clip on face book and I am horrified about some of there claims, ie Greenpeace is against capitalisation and causes more hunger and poverty..... EXCUSE ME! WHAT A LOAD OF SHIT!  Greenpeace isnt against such things, what it is against is the raping of the worlds resorces by company's looking for a quick buck at the world's and peoples expense. You do not find these companies looking for an alternative or making a sustainable life for the poverty stricken people in these countries. This anti-greenpeace clip says that they can provide 300,000 jobs?  My question to them is how long for? what will happen after the resorces have run out what then? and what  will they have done to the environment and living conditions these people would be left with?  It seems to me that these companies do not want you to think about the aftermath once they have used up the materials and leave the people with less than what they had in the first place.  "Sustainability" is what is required for everyone everywhere and I believe it can be achievable. The majority of companies are only interested in profit margins and nothing else.

Patrick Moore seems to have compromised his fundamnental beliefs for financial gain more than most of us would feel able to.

It is a good job tha ther are still people with integrity still working to preserve the environment; keep up the good work!

About Jamie

I'm a forests campaigner working mainly on Indonesia. My personal mumblings can be found @shrinkydinky.

Follow Greenpeace UK