Greenpeace slams Indonesia after deportation

14th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Greenpeace on Friday accused Indonesia of waging a vendetta against the environmental group, after the head of its British branch was denied entry to Jakarta to campaign against deforestation.

Greenpeace UK director John Sauven was blocked by immigration officials on arrival at Jakarta international airport Thursday evening and was sent back that night to Britain.

"Parts of the government want to attack Greenpeace," the environmental group's Indonesia forestry campaigner Bustar Maitar told AFP. "It's obvious that some government officials are involved," he added.

In recent years, Greenpeace has run several campaigns against Indonesia-based Sinar Mas, a privately owned paper and palm oil giant which environmental groups accuse of illegally logging swathes of carbon-rich and biodiverse forests.

Greenpeace campaigns have seen the likes of Unilever, Kraft, Burger King and Barbie maker Mattel cut supply chains from Sinar Mas companies, including Asia Pulp & Paper, one of the world's largest paper makers.

"Immigration never gave us any official notification that Sauven's visa had been rejected. We are still trying to find out why he was deported," Maitar said.

The Human Rights and Justice Ministry did not respond immediately to AFP requests for comment. But a spokesman told the Financial Times that Sauven was deported for portraying Indonesia "in a negative light through bad campaigns".

Several Greenpeace activists and journalists were deported in 2009 as the environmental group campaigned on Sumatra's Kampar Peninsula, where private paper company APRIL has allegedly been destroying carbon-rich peatland.

Greenpeace's campaign ship the Rainbow Warrior was denied entry into Indonesia in 2010.

Greenpeace says its campaigns support President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's pledge to cut Indonesia's carbon emissions by up to 41 percent by 2020, largely through reducing deforestation.

Deforestation in Indonesia is among the fastest in the world and accounts for up to 80 percent of the country's carbon emissions, according to Indonesia's National Council on Climate Change.

© 2011 AFP

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