Rainbow Warrior Denied Emergency Supplies, Ordered Out to International Water

Feature story - October 21, 2010
Jakarta– Greenpeace today expressed serious concern over the Indonesian Navy's harassment of its flagship, the Rainbow Warrior (1). Yesterday, two Indonesian navy vessels ordered the environmental organisation's vessel to leave Indonesian waters as she approached anchorage to take on vital supplies. The navy ships then continued to escort the Warrior even once she had reached international waters, in breach of international law (2).

The peaceful campaigning vessel had intended to dock in Jakarta a week ago for its“Turn the Tide” tour of Southeast Asia to promote environmental awareness and solutions, particularly tackling climate change and deforestation (3). However, she was refused entry to Indonesia, even though President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stated just a few months ago that he welcomed working with non-governmental organisations, including Greenpeace, especially when addressing the problem of deforestation.

“We are extremely concerned by the recent turn of events and believe the Indonesian Government's refusal to allow the Rainbow Warrior into Indonesia runs counter to the country's democratic principles and the right to freedom of expression,” said Nur Hidayati, Greenpeace Indonesia Country Representative.

This is the first time that the Greenpeace flagship has been denied entry to the Republic of Indonesia. In the past, the Rainbow Warrior and other Greenpeace ships have worked in the country with local groups and concerned government agencies in exposing environmental problems including stopping the dumping of hazardous wastes, and helping ensure a successful outcome during the 2007 UN Climate Change Conference in Bali. The Rainbow Warrior also provided disaster relief assistance in the aftermath of the tsunami which devastated Aceh in 2004.

Greenpeace is currently exposing the destruction of the country's rainforests and carbon-rich peatlands caused by the rapid expansion of palm oil and pulp and paper companies, which is driving climate change, pushing species like the endangered orang-utan and Sumatran tiger to the brink of extinction and instigating social conflict.

President Yudhoyono is about to finalise an agreement with Norway to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation. If successful, it could create the single largest climate mitigation and adaptation project in the world.

“We regret that our campaign to support the achievement of President Yudhoyono’s vision with the help of the Rainbow Warrior appears to be threatened by short-sighted political and corporate interests,” said Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace Indonesia's forest campaign team leader.

“We intend to work even more closely with the President and progressive government ministries and industry in the future, to honour their commitments to protect Indonesia's forests for the sake of the global climate and our future,” concluded Maitar.


Notes to Editors:

(1) http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/news/publications/Greenpeace-open-letter-to-ministry-of-foreign-affairs/

(2) Under International Law, Article 58(1) of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea guarantees freedom of navigation in the Exclusive Economic Zone. Indonesia and the Netherlands, flag State of the Rainbow Warrior, are both parties to the Convention.

(3) http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/news/publications/new-green-development-pathway/


For more information contact:

Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Forest Team Leader: +62 813 446 66 135,

Hikmat Soeriatanuwijaya, Media Campaigner - Indonesia, +62 8111805394,

Lea Guerrero, Regional Communications Manager, +66 8 5070 5552,