Greenpeace forest fire fighters attacked in Russia a week after Indonesian fire investigators’ ordeal

Press release - September 9, 2016
Jakarta, 9 September 2016 -- Last night (8 Sept.) Greenpeace Russia’s firefighting team were attacked in their camp in the South of Russia by eight masked men armed with pistols and knives, suffering serious injuries which required medical attention. [1] The team was operating at the request of local communities and in cooperation with state firefighting services to prevent illegal open burning in valuable Ramsar-listed wetlands and coastal salt lakes, which suffer from fires every year.

Greenpeace Indonesia is shocked and saddened by this attack on Russian volunteers and staff that were helping fire affected communities. In Indonesia we suffer every year from the effects of large scale forest and peatland fires. Our staff work directly with fire affected communities and see first-hand the devastation these fires cause. We admire the courage and commitment of the Russian fire prevention team, and condemn the violent intimidation of these brave activists.

In Indonesia one week ago a team of officials from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry were taken hostage and their lives threatened whilst investigating a fire-affected area in peatlands. The Minister later stated that her team suspects a 2,000-hectare area of peatland had been burnt at the behest of the palm oil plantation company which controls the area. [2]

Greenpeace Indonesia is adamant that the companies behind these fires must not be allowed to use intimidation tactics to block genuine solutions to the recurring fire crisis. We will continue to work with communities to fight fires and expose these bullying tactics.

[ends]

Notes to editors:

[1] http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/press/releases/2016/Greenpeace-Russia-team-attacked-by-armed-masked-men1/  

[2] http://jakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/environment-minister-condemns-hostage-situation-involving-palm-oil-company/  and https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/sep/06/palm-oil-firm-accused-of-hiring-men-to-kidnap-smog-inspectors-in-indonesia

Media contacts:

Yuyun Indradi, Forest campaigner, Greenpeace Indonesia, Telp +6281226161759

Igor O'Neill, International Media, Greenpeace Indonesia. , Mobile +62 811 1923 721