UKP4 requested the withdrawal of palm oil plantation permits in Tripa | KOMPAS

kompas cetak – free translation by Adji Darsoyo

UKP4 requested the withdrawal of land use permits issued for a company covering 1,605 ha in Tripa Peat Swamp, Aceh. This request has been addressed during their meeting with the Head of Aceh Police and the Governor of Aceh, Wednesday (04/07).

Wednesday evening I met with the Governor of Aceh requesting him to withdraw violating permits,” said Deputy VI  of UKP4, Mas Achmad Santosa, in Banda Aceh yesterday. He, together with the Deputy V of UKP4, Nirarta Samadhi, have also met with Environmental NGOs in Aceh, community representatives, BPKEL, Ministry of Environment, environmental experts and the police.

Last June, a team of UKP4, Ministry of Environment, Police and Attorney General visited Tripa Peat Swamp. The investigators checked the plantation management on site.

Executive Director WALHI Aceh, TM Zulfikar, said that the activities of palm oil companies in Tripa did not only lead to environmental destruction but also violating the law. Various government regulations ignores the restriction of clearing this protected area.

Among others is the Presidential Decree No. 32/1990 stated that peatland of more than 3 m deep has to be accredited as protection area. This is enforced by the Government Regulation No. 26/2008 that included Tripa Peat Swamp as part of the Leuser Ecosystem. Presidential Instruction No. 10/2011 on Moratorium of New Permit in Primary Forest and Peatlands was issued in 2011.

“Those regulations were just ignored. Even, in August 2011, the former Governor of Aceh issued a land use permit covering 1,605 ha. Clearing by burning also continues without any sanction,” he said.

The Coordinator of Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari for Tripa Peat Swamp, Halim Gurning, said that surrounding community of Tripa and NGOs habe reported the case to the police. But, they were terrorised instead.

Brig. Gen. Gatot from Criminal Division of the Central Police leading the case of environmental violation in Tripa Peat Swamp said that the investigators found evidence of violations conducted by the companies, especially related to clearing by burning. “Irregularities were found in the permit issued by the Governor of Aceh in August 2011,” he said.

Separately, the Governor of Aceh, Zaini Abdullah, said that the issuance of the permit for one of the companies in Tripa should have not happened. “This problem will be discussed further with UKP4,” he said.

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About endoftheicons

The Leuser Ecosystem on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia is in grave danger. Local politicians want to allow logging, mining and palm oil plantations in this vulnerable area. Sumatran orangutans, rhinos, elephants and tigers are already hanging on by a thread. They will not survive the destruction of the Leuser Ecosystem.

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