Indonesian authorities have expelled a second Greenpeace campaigner within a week.
Immigration officers yesterday picked up forests campaigner Andy Tait at Jakarta’s main airport, where he was attempting to leave Indonesia of his own volition.
However, officials detained him for questioning before putting him on a plane and stamping his passport with an official deportation mark.
Greenpeace executive director John Sauven was deported on Thursday just after arriving at Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.
Just days before, Tait had returned from the forests of Sumatra, where he had been to see the destruction caused by notorious rainforests destroyer Asia Pulp and Paper (APP).
During the visit to Sumatra, Greenpeace saw large-scale clearances of natural forest areas, including inside APP concessions. Some of these concessions are mapped as containing areas of deep peat, which is illegal to clear under Indonesian law. The concessions are also a habitat for the endangered Sumatran tiger.
Both Sauven and Tait are from the UK and both held business visas for their trip.
In the last year, Greenpeace have stepped up their campaign to prevent APP destroying the rainforests of Indonesia, which are home to some of the last orang-utans and Sumatran tigers. APP has been exposed many times for wrecking Indonesia’s rainforests to make products such as paper and packaging.
President Yudhoyono has made a commitment to cut climate change emissions caused by deforestation by the end of his term in 2014.
But recently some Indonesian politicians have called for Greenpeace to be expelled from the country and last year the organisation’s flagship Rainbow Warrior was denied entry.
Nur Hidayati, head of Greenpeace’s Indonesia office, believes the actions taken against Sauven and Tait are part of an orchestrated smear campaign against Greenpeace in Indonesia and said:
“Greenpeace is coming under attack in Indonesia because of our work to stop deforestation in the country. The strength of this attack has increased significantly as our work has focused on APP’s role in rainforest destruction.
“But blocking Greenpeace campaigners from Indonesia won’t stop our work to end deforestation in the country and won’t help APP to hide from the truth about their role in rainforest destruction. APP is linked to corruption, illegal logging scandals and community conflicts but it appears to operate with impunity.
“One part of the Sinar Mas group, Golden Agri Resources, has already started to tackle the problem of forest destruction. APP has got to do the same.”
Several large international companies are removing APP from their supply chain. These include Adidas, Kraft, Nestle, Unilever, Carrefour and Tesco. Recently Mattel, the toy giant behind Barbie, announced that they too were cutting ties with APP.
Indonesia has one of the fastest rates of forest destruction in the world. The Indonesian government estimates that more than one million hectares of rainforests are being lost every year.
Greenpeace press office: 020 7865 8255