Indonesian President Being Petitioned Over Rawa Tripa Case

Banda Aceh, TAG – In response to the much publicized devastating fires and orangutans tragedy currently unfolding in the Tripa peat swamp, the coalition team to save the tripa swamps, their partners, and supporters around the globe have launched a global online petition asking the Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, to support legal action against those accountable for the illegal destruction of legally protected Rawa Tripa forests in Aceh province’s Nagan Raya district.

The petition to delivered to Yudhoyono, head of Indonesia’s REDD+ task force Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, chairman of the REDD+ task force working group Mas Ahmad Santosa, Norway’s Ambassador to Indonesia Homme, Indonesian National Police Chief Gen. Timur Pradopo), Minister of Forestry Zulkifly Hasan, Minister for Foreign Affairs Marty M. Natalegawa, and Minister of Agriculture Suswono.
According to press release obtained by The Aceh Globe here Saturday that the petition simply asks them to enforce the laws protecting the Rawa Tripa and its orangutan population. Indonesia’s ability to enforce its national laws is in serious question, leading to increasing public scrutiny.
A legal case is currently ongoing in the administrative court in Banda Aceh, contesting the legality of a plantation concession permit issued to PT. Kallista Alam by the then Governor of Aceh Irwandi Yusuf, as it contravenes the national spatial plan issued in 2008, in which the entire Leuser ecosystem, of which Tripa is an integral part, is a designated national strategic area for environmental protection. The final ruling in the case is due on April 4.
Hadi Daryanto, secretary-general of the Ministry of Forestry, as quoted in the press release that this permit should not have been issued under the terms of a Moratorium on New Permits in Primary Forests and Peatlands, issued by President Yudhoyono in May 2011.
“It’s clearly a violation because the area in question is a peat forest. On the moratorium map it’s clearly marked out as protected, but in the revision that followed, it was somehow excluded. That exclusion in itself is also a violation because it occurred after the moratorium went into effect,” he said as quoted.
Kuntoro also gave this critical response on hearing of the case. "While we recognize the need for the palm oil industry to also grow, signing an agreement with a palm oil company to allow the conversion of protected peatland into palm oil plantations, very clearly breaks the moratorium,” he said.
Yudhoyono himself stated in 2011 that he would “dedicate the last three years of my term as President to deliver enduring results that will sustain and enhance the environment and forests of Indonesia.”
A failure of Indonesia’s legal system in such an obviously clear-cut case, would represent a major global embarrassment for the country, not to mention its international partners, in its failure to fulfill its commitment to reducing carbon emissions, the statement said.
Furthermore, all last week numerous huge fires, deliberately and illegally lit by oil palm companies, swept through a significant area of the remaining peat swamp forests of Tripa. Clearing peat-lands using fire is highly illegal, it said.
“Clearing forests containing endangered species contravenes the Indonesian palm oil industry’s own legally required standards and unless immediate action is taken to halt and reverse the current wave of illegal destruction,” the statement said.
“Tripa’s population of the critically endangered Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii), could be extinct in a matter of months, even weeks if a prolonged dry spell were to set in. The strongest possible action must be taken against the companies responsible for the crisis, who are acting as if they think that they can break the law with impunity.”
The Tripa peat swamp forests in Aceh have long been recognized as a UNEP/UNESCO great Ape survival partnership priority site for great Ape conservation, and in the early 90's these peat swamp forests are estimated to have contained between 2,000 and 3,000 Sumatran orangutans.
“But today, only a few hundred survive, and a tipping point has now been reached where just one more serious and uncontrolled fire event could easily wipe out the remaining survivors, and all other wildlife species in these forests, many of them also endangered and legally protected under Indonesian law,” it said.
Furthermore, these peat swamps are also critically important to both the local and even international human community, since they serve many vital environmental and ecological functions, such as providing food resources, regulating water supplies and limiting floods and droughts, and since they store huge quantities of carbon, mitigating climate change.
The continuing destruction of Tripa will further exacerbate chronic flooding and droughts, and cause massive carbon emissions from the exposed peat for many decades to come.[]
If you want to take part on this petition, you can join on the link below: 
Indonesian President Being Petitioned Over Rawa Tripa Case Indonesian President Being Petitioned Over Rawa Tripa Case Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on March 31, 2012 Rating: 5

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