Sinar Mas - ‘Forest and Climate Criminal’

Feature story - March 19, 2009
Greenpeace activists were brutally kicked and punched when they led a peaceful protest at the headquarters of Indonesia’s largest logging and palm oil company, the Sinar Mas Group, in Jakarta, on March 19th. Greenpeace is demanding a halt to continuing destruction of Indonesia’s last remaining forests by the company.

Kampar Penisula, Riau, Indonesia. Greenpeace is conducting an assessment and mapping of the Kampar Peninsular, using satellite imagery and aerial photography, to develop a rehabilitation plan for peatlands already degraded and drained by palm oil and pulp and paper companies. The Kampar Peninsula is the last large intact area of peat swamp forest in Riau with some of the deepest peat in Indonesia, the rest has been destroyed by the agriculture and logging industries.

Greenpeace is conducting an assessment and mapping of the Kampar Peninsular, using satellite imagery and aerial photography, to develop a rehabilitation plan for peatlands already degraded and drained by palm oil and pulp and paper companies. The Kampar Peninsula is the last large intact area of peat swamp forest in Riau with some of the deepest peat in Indonesia, the rest has been destroyed by the agriculture and logging industries.

KAMPAR PENINSULA, RIAU PROVINCE, SUMATRA Greenpeace activists from the MY Esperanza unfurl a 40 x 20 meter banner on recently cleared peatland forest in the pulp and paper concession of PT. Arara Abadi-Siak owned by APP (Asia Pulp and Paper). Greenpeace is protesting against the destruction of Kampar Peninsular's peatland forest by pulp and paper and palm oil industries and calling for the Indonesian Government to implement a moratorium on deforestation. Peatland forest is critical for maintaining biodiversity and it's degradation releases vast stores of carbon thereby contributing to global climate change.

Fires at RAPP concession,Giam Siak Kecil, Riau.

8 October 2008, Papua Province, Indonesia Excavators clear Sago, the region's food staple, to make way for palm oil plantations in Papua Province, Indonesia's last intact forest frontier. Greenpeace is calling for an immediate moratorium on all forest conversion in Indonesia to help curb the country greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard the wealth of tropical biodiversity and protect the livelihood of forest dependent communities.

8 october 2008, Papua Province, Indonesia The sharp contrast between the pristine forest and forest destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations in Papua Province, Indonesia's last intact forest frontier. Greenpeace is calling for an immediate moratorium on all forest conversion in Indonesia to help curb the countryÕs greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard the wealth of tropical biodiversity and protect the livelihood of forest dependent communities.

Greenpeace campaigner talks with Sinar Mas officials at the main entrance of the Sinar Mas building in Jakarta on March 19, 2009. Greenpeace activists locked down the Sinar Mas headquarters to shut down their operations until they commit to halt their continuing destruction of Indonesia's last remaining forest.

Greenpeace activists deployed giant banners 20x10 meters at the Sinar Mas building in Jakarta on March 19, 2009. Greenpeace activists locked down the Sinar Mas headquarters to shut down their operations until they commit to halt their continuing destruction of Indonesia's last remaining forest.

Greenpeace activists deployed giant banners 20x10 meters at the Sinar Mas building in Jakarta on March 19, 2009. Greenpeace activists locked down the Sinar Mas headquarters to shut down their operations until they commit to halt their continuing destruction of Indonesia's last remaining forest.

Greenpeace activists deployed giant banners 20x10 meters at the Sinar Mas building in Jakarta on March 19, 2009. Greenpeace activists locked down the Sinar Mas headquarters to shut down their operations until they commit to halt their continuing destruction of Indonesia's last remaining forest.

Twenty-five Greenpeace activists chained themselves to the entrance of the Sinar Mas building, and Greenpeace climbers deployed a huge 20m x 10m banner to brand Sinar Mas a "Forest and Climate Criminal." Police then arrived at the scene and removed the activists.

"The excessive violence today by Sinar Mas security is testament to the way this company does business. Sinar Mas may think they are above the law, but the right to peaceful protest is enshrined in the Indonesian constitution. We took action today because Sinar Mas and the Indonesian Government are failing to do so. We are facing the greatest threat to humanity - climate chaos - yet still companies like Sinar Mas continue to destroy forests and peatlands, rather than protecting them for future generations and, as is becoming increasingly clear, for climate stability," said Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Forest campaigner.

Monitoring Sinar Mas

Greenpeace has been monitoring Sinar Mas operations in Riau Province, Sumatra, West Kalimantan, and Papua over the past years and has recently gathered fresh evidence of Sinar Mas Group's ongoing destruction in these areas. Sinar Mas is also poised for massive expansion as they hold unplanted concession areas totalling another 200,000 hectares of Indonesian rainforest and have plans to acquire a further 1.1 million hectares, mainly in Papua. Furthermore, human rights organisations have raised serious concerns following the heavy handed repression of community protests against APP (owned by Sinar Mas) in Suluk Bongkal, Riau at the end of last year. 

"Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is saying internationally that he will reduce Indonesia's greenhouse gas emissions, yet Sinar Mas continue their forest destruction unabated.  If he is serious about Indonesia being a global leader in solving the climate crisis, he must take immediate action to stop this company destroying Indonesia's greatest asset - carbon rich forests and peatland," urged Maitar.

Greenpeace calls for moratorium on deforestation

Greenpeace is calling for an immediate halt to all expansion into forests and peatland by Sinar Mas and other companies. Further, they are calling on the Indonesian government to immediately implement a moratorium on any further forest conversion. This will not only help curb the country's greenhouse gas emissions, but will also safeguard the wealth of tropical biodiversity and protect the livelihood of forest dependent communities all across Indonesia.

The Indonesian government needs to take action to protect the nation's people from the impacts of climate change through reducing Indonesia's emissions by 75% by 2012 and pushing industrialized countries to pay for this reduction in deforestation as well as cutting their own emissions dramatically. 

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