Greenpeace UK Head barred from entering Indonesia

Greenpeace UK’s executive director John Sauven was today prevented from entering Indonesia.

Press release - October 13, 2011
Sauven was blocked by immigration officials on arrival at Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, despite having a business visa for his trip. He has been informed by officials that he will be deported immediately.

Just before 5pm local time (11am BST), Sauven was led away by security guards. The Greenpeace Indonesia office are currently trying to find out how why he has been deported despite holding all the correct paperwork. The British Embassy has been informed.

In the last year, Greenpeace have stepped up its campaign to prevent the notorious Asia Pulp and Paper corporation (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.

Just days ago, the British Foreign Secretary William Hague wrote to Sauven to say that Greenpeace’s work “on deforestation was important” and he hoped that the visit to Indonesia was “able to go ahead as planned”.

Sauven, who got married in Indonesia, was due to meet a top ranking Indonesian government official and to visit the rainforests in Sumatra. He was also due to have meetings with Indonesian businesses and the British ambassador, who said, in a letter, he was “delighted” when he heard of the planned visit.

Bustar Maitar, head of Greenpeace’s campaign to save Indonesia’s forests, said:

“Greenpeace has faced a number of attacks since we stepped up our campaign earlier this year to save the rainforests of Indonesia.

“But blocking Greenpeace campaigners from Indonesia won’t stop customers from deserting APP. That will only happen once APP decides to stop wrecking the last rainforest home of the Sumatran tiger.

“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.

ENDS

Contacts:

Hikmat Soeriatanuwijaya, Indonesia Media Team Leader, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, tel: +62 8111805394

Nur Hidayati, Indonesia Country Representative, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, tel: +62 81319809441

Niall Bennett, Greenpeace UK: +44 7717 704 577