03 October 2012
INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE
Coalition to Save Tripa Peat Swamp Forest
“Historic Cancellation of Oil Palm Permit Opens Door for Prosecution of Companies Crimes
Latest Satellite Image shows company still burning protected peatlands”
JAKARTA – Less than one week after history was made as the Aceh Government revoked the first industrial palm oil permit from the Tripa Peat Swamp Forest, a coalition of NGO’s known as ‘Save Tripa Peat Forest’ highlighted today in a press briefing additional clear breaches of Indonesia’s multi million dollar forest protection agreement with Norway, only kilometers from the first location, and demanded National Police increase their activities to quickly bring these crimes to trial.
Deddy Ratih, Forest Campaigner for Walhi (Friends of the Earth Indonesia) explained “This continues to be a the leading test case for a National problem. While the revocation of PT Kallista Alam is a step in the right direction, there is still much more action required by police and Government to resolve the problems in Tripa. The Ministry of Environment continues to investigate a raft of the envrionmental crimes in Tripa with no end in sight, meanwhile, the legal testomonies of local communities to the National Police continue to be ignored”
Kamarrudin, the lawyer representing local people and the environment in the Tripa case, said, “There are strong indications that the enforcement of the law in the Tripa case has been “hijacked” by the financial power of corporations operating in the Tripa peat swamps. This can be seen in the less than optimal work of the provincial and national police, and the investigators of the Ministry of the Environment. We request that the National Police Chief and the Ministry of the Environment immediately evaluate the investigative processes to date, and move forward with a thorough investigation of the criminal crimes against spatial planning, plantation and environmental laws and regulations in the Tripa peat swamps. We hope that this case, that has drawn national and international attention, will not be frozen by those with vested interests in the law enforcement and government agencies. We also hold the Ministry of the Environment to its promise to launch criminal and administrative against companies that have committed serious environmental crimes in the Tripa peat swamps”.
In an impassioned address, Adnan NS, a prominent Community leader from Aceh stressed, “Despite the recent cancellation of the PT Kallista Alam permit, and ongoing investigations into violations of the law by this and other companies in Tripa, on the ground nothing has changed yet. Community livelihoods continue to be destroyed, even though local community leaders travelled all the way to Jakarta to report this to the national police back in November 2011. We are still waiting for action and demand to know why their testimonies have been ignored”.
“Over the last two months I’ve been on speaking tours of both the USA and Australia, and all around the world people are continually asking me about the situation in Tripa.” Said Dr Ian Singleton, Conservation Director of the Sumatran Conservation Programme. “International interest in the governance of Indonesia’s remaining forests and rapidly declining wild species populations is extremely high, and to them my message is clear – anyone with a computer can now check on forest clearance in Indonesia, measure and quantify it, and get daily updates on illegal fires, and circulate that information globally. As individuals we have never before had access to so much quantifiable information in other parts of the world or the ability to share it so widely and people around the world continue to be extremely alarmed and concerned about Tripa, as what they see is that so far nothing has yet changed. Unless the destruction is halted very very quickly, we are still likely to see the local extinction of Sumatran Orangutans from Tripa in the very near future.
“The forest concession known as Dua Perkasa Lestari (DPL) has been marked as off-limits in all three releases of the Government’s moratorium map, a tool designed to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and degradation, but satellite imagery from last week clearly show that burning and illegal clearing of Tripa’s peat swamp forests is still taking place. Furthermore, the DPL area has no clear HGU permit, it clearly lies within the Leuser Ecosystem protected by National Spatial Planning law 26/2007, and it contains peat over 3m deep. There are three companies that have been the major burning culprits, namely PT.SPS2, PT DPL and PT KA. We should pay greater attention to this because it is in violation of Law No. 32/2009 on the Environmental Protection and Management” explained Riswan Zen, a Senior GIS mapping expert from the Univeristy of North Sumatra.
“Over 25,000 people have already signed a petition calling for immediate action to halt the destruction of Tripa’s unique ecosystem, from within Tripa itself, from Aceh, from Indonesia, and from all over the world, contributing to the recent closure of the illegal PT Kallista Alam concession. Now we, together with the local community, are launching a new petition (at http://www.change.org/savetripa2) calling on Indonesia’s National Police to support the findings of the REDD+ Taskforce and the Ministry of Environment, and immediately escalate the cases under investigation to formal prosecutions. Much more still needs to be done to protect the remaining forests of Tripa, Aceh, and Indonesia as a whole. But the recent cancellation of the illegal PT Kallista Alam concession is an historic legal precedent for the country and it now needs to be followed up with the investigation and processing of all law breakers, and prosecution for their offences” Said Usman Hamid of Change.org Indonesia.
Its up to all of us to take action to protect the environment, and it can be as simple as signing a petition online, sharing it with your friends, tweeting and using social media to make our country a better place for all Indonesians,” said Melanie Subono. “I’m proud to have signed the petition to save Tripa and to see our laws finally being enforced. In fact, it is our duty as citizens to demand that our laws be upheld, especially those protecting the environment we all live in. Very soon I plan to visit Tripa and see the Orangutans, the forests, and the destruction still taking place with my own eyes. I’ll be going in close to 4 weeks time, and sincerely hope that before I get there, the National Police will have finally begun to take action on this globally important issue”
For further media comment or information, please contact:
Dr Ian Singleton
Director of Conservation, Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program
Forest Campaigner, WALHI Indonesia (Friends of the Earth Indonesia)
Political Campaigner, Greenpeace Indonesia
October 01, 2012
Aceh Governor Zaini Abdullah officially revoked the business permit for a company developing a controversial oil palm plantation in a peat swamp in Sumatra, concluding a case that had tested Indonesia’s commitment to a moratorium on new concessions in peatlands and rainforests.
Abdullah revoked palm oil company PT Kallista Alam’s permit on Thursday after an Indonesian court instructed him to do so. Earlier the central government’s REDD+ task force concluded the plantation in the Tripa peatland violated multiple regulations.
“This is the first in the history of the Government of Aceh,” said Makmur Ibrahim, Head of the Legal and PR Office of the Aceh Regional Secretariat.
The permit allowing PT Kallista Alam to establish a 1,605-hectare plantation in the Tripa peat swamp was controversial because it violated a country-wide moratorium on new concessions in peatlands and primary forests issued in 2011 by Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The concession was granted by the former Aceh governor Irwandi Yusuf more than three months after the moratorium went into effect.
A local environmental group — the Aceh chapter Walhi — filed suit against PT Kallista Alam and the Aceh government to test the central government’s commitment to the moratorium. The case garnered international interest for both its egregious nature — multiple regulations should have protected the land from conversion — and the presence of critically endangered orangutans. Local communities were also opposed to the plantation, bringing in a human rights element as well.
PT Kallista Alam is also the subject of a police investigation for illegal burning, according to The Jakarta Post.
Over the past 20 years Indonesia has had one of the highest rates of forest loss in the world, but in 2009 Indonesian Yudhoyono pledged to reduce deforestation as part of a commitment to slow greenhouse gas emissions. Under his “7/26” plan, Indonesia aims to reduce emissions by at least 26 percent — and up to 41 percent with international support — by 2020 relative to a business-as-usual scenario. Norway has committed up to $1 billion to support the initiative.
September 28, 2012|Reuters
JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia’s Aceh province has revoked a controversial permit issued to a palm oil firm accused of breaching a ban on forest clearing, a spokesman said on Friday, in a rare climbdown following a legal challenge by environmental groups.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has set a goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by saving Indonesia’s dwindling tropical rainforests, the world’s third-largest, a pledge that won the promise of $1 billion from Norway should he succeed.
But the effort is being hampered by soaring global demand for palm oil, used in everything from biscuits to biofuel. Indonesia is the world’s top producer of the edible oil, whose exports earn the country $20 billion a year.
Last year, the governor of Aceh breached a two-year ban on issuing permits to log and convert forests by giving permission for PT Kallista Alam develop 1,605 hectares (4,000 acres) of swamp, which includes protected peatlands.
The Aceh governor’s move prompted legal action from environmental groups and probes by the police and government bodies, which led to the permit being revoked this week.
A spokesman for the Aceh province said the permit had been revoked on Thursday, and notification sent to Kallista Alam.
“It is important that there is rule of law in business and investing in Aceh, which provides benefits to the community,” Muhammad Zulfikar, director of the Aceh chapter of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI), said in a statement.
Officials of PT Kallista Alam could not immediately be reached for comment.
Former Aceh governor Irwandi Yusuf issued the permit to open 1,605 hectares of land for palm oil in the Tripa peatland area in August last year.
In the last few years, Indonesia has seen rapid growth in production of palm oil, with output this year expected to be between 23 million and 25 million metric tons (27.6 million tons), with around 18 million metric tons exported.
(Reporting by Reza Munawir in Aceh; Writing by Michael Taylor; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
Thursday, September 27, 2012 19:52 WIB
MURDANI ABDULLAH | Free Translation by Adji Darsoyo
BANDA ACEH – The Government of Aceh has officially revoked the plantation permit of PT Kalista Alam in Tripa Peat Swamp. The withdrawal was marked through the issuance of a Governor Decree No. 525/BP2T/5087/2012 signed by the Governor of Aceh, Zaini Abdullah, on September 27, 2012.
“Correct, we have revoked the permit of Kalista Alam. We hope that this decision can be accepted by all parties,” said the Head of the Legal and PR Office of the Aceh Regional Secretariat, Makmur Ibrahim.
According to him, the revoked permit is for an area within Pulo Kruet village, Sub district of Darul Makmur in Nagan Raya, covering 1,605 ha.
The reason of the withdrawal, add Makmur, is that, because PT Kalista Alam was considered violating the existing legal regulation.
The Article 45A Point c of the Law No. 5/2004 on the Supreme Court declares restriction for state administrative cases, which can only be appealed to Administrative High Court, but not to cassation at the Supreme Court.
Besides, PT Kalista Alam also violated the agreement to establish plasma plantation covering 30% of the total of 1,605 ha.
“Based on this we withdraw the permit of Kalista Alam, which also has never submitted any midterm report on their business development to the Governor of Aceh,” he said.(bna)
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.
- [PRESS RELEASE] Increase in fires burning in Tripa highlights Indonesian Government failing to cease deforestation (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Kuntoro Requests The Governor of Aceh to Revoke Plantation Permit in Tripa Peat Swamp (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Government Applies Triple Track to Stop Permit on Tripa Peat Swamp | Berita Satu (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
Government Consistency Positively Welcomed by Civil Organisations
Jakarta, KOMPAS – Tripa Peat Swamp in the Aceh’s Nagan Raya District is re-included in the second revision of the moratorium map. The area of 1,605 ha of PT. Kalista Alam intended for oil palm plantation will be protected against any logging or peatland clearing activities.
Deputy of Law Enforcement of the Presidential Working Unit for Development Supervision and Control (UKP4), Mas Achmad Santosa, said on Monday (21/5) in Jakarta that all company’s activities within the 1,605 ha area had to be halted. “Besides that, we also proceed with legal lawsuit,” he said.
He explained the currently investigated legal case in details, which is the indication of violation of the Law No. 32/2009 on Environmental Protection and Management in regards to the clearing by burning activity. Then, violation of the Law No. 18/2004 on Plantation, being operating without permit. Violation of the Law No. 5/1990 on Conservation of Biodiversity and its Ecosystem, since the company operates within the Leuser Ecosystem. For information, the Joint Investigators of the Ministry of Environment, the Attorney General and the State Police are now conducting the hearing of witnesses, including those from the company.
Besides criminal lawsuit, the UKP4 recommended that the Ministry of Environment, on behalf of the state, prosecutes the company to pay the damage caused by the destruction of the local ecosystem. The damage is currently being calculated by the Ministry of Environment.
Being asked about possible applied sanctions, the Head of UKP4, Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, said that the probability of corruption and state administration delicts would be traced back. “This is still being elaborated. To be cleared, guilty official can be administratively punished and corruption will face criminal charges,” he said.
Separately, the Executive Director of Greenomics, Elfian Effendi, praised UKP4 for being consistent with the protection of Tripa Peat Swamp against destructive threats caused by palm oil expansion. “The consistency has saved orangutan habitat and the protecting function of Tripa Peat Swamp,” he added.
The case started in August 2011 as the Aceh Governor serving during that time issued a plantation permit for PT Kalista Alam. Although, in May 2011, the particular area in the permit, the 1,605 ha, was included within the areas of the moratorium.
But, under the first revision of the moratorium in November 2011, this particular area was excluded. The permit issued by the Aceh Governor was then filed for administrative court by WALHI. The panel of judges rejected the case and WALHI appealed.
This issue has been smelled by the UKP4 that recommended comprehensive investigation on the case, including onsite investigation. The investigation identified the lack of concession permit and other violations, such as clearing by burning of the peat and expired license.
- Suspect In The Case of Tripa Peat Swamp Subject to Criminal and Civil Lawsuit | KOMPAS (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Ministry of Foresty Sent Letter To Aceh Governor Re Tripa Peat Swamp | KOMPAS (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Clearing of Tripa Peat Swamp Forest Threatening Orangutan | Koran Tempo (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Next Week, Hearing of Witnesses | KOMPAS (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- The Case of Tripa Peat Swamp: Entry Point To Revision Of Moratorium Map | KOMPAS (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Actor of Violation in Tripa To Be Prosecuted (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
Jakarta, Kompas – Joint investigator consisting of Ministry of Environment, Police and Attorney General on Monday (21/5) were scheduled to start collecting information from witnesses on the case of clearing by burning in Tripa Peat Swamp within the Aceh’s Leuser Ecosystem. The witnesses are from the companies PT Kalista Alam and PT Surya Panen Subur 2. This is the follow up on the site investigation sometimes ago.
“Now is the first call for witnesses from both companies. Other witnesses are also from government agencies, such as Provincial Government of Aceh and the National Land Agency,” said Sudariyono, Deputy of Environmental Law Enforcement of the Ministry of Environment, last Friday in Jakarta.
Currently, the team has collect information from local community in Nagan Raya, filed to strengthen the findings of the investigators.
On site, the team of investigators found evidence of clearing by burning of Tripa Peat Swamp area for the purpose of oil palm plantation. Burning of land violates the Article 108 of the Law No. 32/2009 on the Protection and the Management of the Environment, with the minimum sentence of 3 years up to 10 years in prison and fine of between IDR 1 to 10 billion.
Besides criminal law, investigators also apply civil law based on the environmental destruction caused by fire, which is defined as state loss. “We are currently calculating the damage. The civil process runs in parallel to the legal process of the crime suit,” he said.
The case of Tripa emerged after WALHI and some other NGOs in Aceh filed a law suit against the Governor of Aceh on the issuance of permit for 1,605 ha within the Leuser Ecosystem. The law suit was rejected by the panel of judges of the administrative court in Banda Aceh.
The odd decision on the case has reached the Presidential Working Unit of Development Supervision and Control (UKP4), which is also the Task Force REDD+. The Head of UKP4 Kuntoro Mangkusubroto recommended that the investigators of the Ministry of Environment, the Police and the Attorney General take over the case.
Over the phone on Friday afternoon, the Director of PT Surya Panen Subur, Eddy Sutjahyo Busiri, has received the summon for hearing. “It is scheduled for Tuesday. We will certainly attend and bring evidence and data,” he said.
He said that his company did not burn but was victim of burning by its neighbouring plantation. Thursday afternoon his staffs in Tripa Peat Swamp were on alert based on fire within the area of PT Kalista Alam.
”We alerted directly the police and Local Office of Environment to witness the fire themselves,” he said.
Separately, Tjokorda Nirarta Samadhi, the Coordinator of the Moratorium Monitoring Work Group of the Task Force REDD+, agreed that the case on Tripa opened the path for the review on the areas within the moratorium map.
He recommended that various government agencies coordinate with each other and monitor. (ICH)