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Daniel Kessler, Greenpeace US Press Officer, +1 510 501 1779
Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Forest Campaigner, +62 81344666135
Hikmat Soeriatanuwijaya, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Media Campaigner, +62 818 930 271
Greenpeace Will Continue Fight for Kampar Protection In Indonesia Despite Camp Burning Down
INDONESIA - April 12 - Greenpeace today stated that the burning down of the Climate Defenders Camp in Riau's Kampar Peninsula this weekend will not stop it from campaigning with the local community to stop the destruction of the area's forests and carbon-rich peatlands. The Climate Defenders Camp was built in October 2009 with community help in the run up to the Copenhagen climate summit to highlight the cost of forest destruction to the climate, local communities and biodiversity.
"The fire which has partially destroyed the camp is a set back but we are now more committed than ever to helping the local community fight the destruction of the Kampar. We are redoubling our efforts to save Indonesia's environment and make sure that the forests and peatlands of Kampar Peninsular Forests are fully protected," said Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Forest Campaign Team Leader.
The fire broke out in the early hours of Sunday morning and flames were spotted by villagers across the Kampar river in Teluk Meranti. The fire severely damaged the main hall and prayer room but there were no injuries. Initial investigations by the local police indicate that the fire was started deliberately. Greenpeace has reported the case to Riau Province Police Headquarters, urging them to investigate the case seriously and rapidly," added Bustar.
The Kampar peninsula is one of the largest peatland areas in the world and is under threat of destruction from pulp-and paper companies APRIL and APP. The camp has been visited by a host of international guests, like the US ambassador to Indonesia and French movie star Melanie Laurent. In November, using the camp as base, Greenpeace took action against the ongoing clearance of peatlands by APRIL, blocking the company's excavators and exposing the company''s illegal activities. Not long thereafter, Minister of Forestry Zulkifli Hasan ordered APRIL to stop clearing practices in the area, while their permits where under investigation.
The people of Teluk Meranti have been very supportive of the Greenpeace campaign and have organised a thousand-signature petition to reject the expansion of APRIL into the forests in the Kampar. "We need Greenpeace to help us protect the forest against the company because the company has everything - money, power, and political influence" said Pak Yusuf, Teluk Meranti community leader.
The Greenpeace campaign will not stop until the Kampar is fully protected. "We welcome President Yudhoyono's statement last week that asked NGO's like Greenpeace to work together with the government to save Indonesia's environment. As a first step, we urge the President to immediately implement moratorium on deforestation and peatland destruction," Maiter concluded.