Over the last week a man made firestorm swept through a huge area of the remaining peat swamp forests of Tripa, devastating Critically Endangered Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) to the very brink of extinction, possibly within months.
Critically important, the Tripa peat swamp forests of Aceh, Indonesia, have long been recognized as a UNEP/UNESCO Great Ape Survival Partnership Priority Site for Great Ape Conservation.
In the early 90's these forests are estimated to have contained between 2,000 and 3,000 but today only a few hundred survive, and if the current rate of forest destruction and burning continues, even these will be gone completely within a matter of months.
All the result of the illegal activities of a small number of rogue palm oil plantation companies.
Of one of these companies, PT. Kallista Alam, is actually right now being challenged in court, as it clearly contravenes National Spatial Planning Laws and the Indonesian President’s moratorium on new permits in primary forests and peatlands, supported by Norwegian taxpayers money.
The whole of the Tripa peat swamps lie within the Protected Leuser Ecosystem, a National Strategic Area for Environmental Protection in Indonesia's National Spatial Plan established in 2008.
If this legal initiative fails, and if the current rate of destruction is not halted IMMEDIATELY, there will be no more forest and no more orangutans (and many other legally "protected" species) in Tripa by the end of 2012. This represents the death nell for this important orangutan population, the final nail in the coffin.
Agaisnt all odds, We want to see JUSTICE taking place in Indonesia. We need your URGENT help
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Sumatran Orangutans are heading towards extinction, are we gonna sit back and just watch this global tragedy unfold?
Latest story on Tripa Orangutan tragedy circulated around the world
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The Australian - Breaking News
Voice of America
Indonesia’s ability to enforce its National Laws is in serious question, leading to increasing public scrutiny.
Today, Tripa and its wildlife is in crisis because a number of palm oil companies like PT. Kallista Alam are breaking the law.
The Tripa peat swamps lie within the Leuser Ecosystem, a National Strategic Area for Environmental Protection in Indonesia's National Spatial Plan established under the Spatial Planning Law no. 26/2007, through Government Regulation no. 26/2008.
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, and the final ruling is due on April 3rd. Firstly, the concession is in the Leuser Ecosystem, officially protected under the above laws. Secondly, the area in question was clearly highlighted as off limits to new plantations in the map accompanying the President’s moratorium on new plantations in primary forests and peatlands announced in May 2011, part of the Government’s Letter of Intent to reduce carbon emissions with the Government of Norway.
Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, the chairman of Indonesia’s REDD+ Task Force, gave this critical response to Reuters on hearing of the case:
"While we recognise 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.”
Hadi Daryanto, secretary general of the Ministry of Forestry, also told the Jakarta Post that the permit should not have been issued under the terms of the moratorium:
“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.”
The laws of Indonesia are there to be upheld, and must be supported by civil society and Government at all levels.
President Susilo Bambang 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 reducing carbon emissions.
As you read this letter the crisis in Tripa continues to make international headlines, with numerous illegally set fires destroying the last of it’s peat swamp forests and wildlife.
In the early 90’s there was estimated to have been as many as 3,000 orangutans in Tripa’s forests, yet today there are considered to be only around 200 left, and even these few survivors are finally being exterminated by the offending palm oil companies.
If the current rate of destruction continues, it is highly likely that Tripa’s orangutans will be completely extinct by the end of this year, and it will be purely for lack of enforcement of Indonesian laws.
This desperate situation is making news all over the world, from TIME, Al Jazeera, Voice of America, Afterpost and the BBC to the Vancouver Sun, and many others. The world knows the details of the case and the world is waiting for actions, not simply more words.
Tripa Peat Swamps and their Orangutans being cremated to annihilation: Government of Indonesia must uphold law or face international shame
This is the demand from the citizen of the world.
1. The immediate enforcement of laws protecting the Leuser Ecosystem, including the Tripa Peat Swamps, namely: The Spatial Planning Law (UU 26/2007) and subsequent Government Regulation (PP 26/2008) which establishes the Leuser Ecosystem as a National Strategic Area with environmental protection function; and the Law of the Governance of Aceh (UU11/2006) which obligates the Government and the Government of Aceh to protect the Leuser Ecosystem.
2. That the National Police immediately investigate the allegations made by local community members on the 23rd of November 2011.
3. The immediate formation of a national-level credible investigation into illegal activities conducted by palm oil company operating in Tripa.
4. An immediate investigation by UKP4 into the mysterious withdrawal of the area covered by the new PT Kallista Alam concession issued by the Governor of Aceh on 25th August 2011, from the earlier version of the map despite its being issued after the moratorium was declared.
5. That the Government IMMEDIATELY order oil palm companies with concessions within the Tripa Peat Swamps of the Leuser Ecosystem to completely cease ALL land clearing and burning activities pending the outcomes of the above enquiries.
6. That the Government of Norway immediately suspend the bilateral Letter of Intent of May 27th 2010, and any payments of the US$1 billion promised in the LOI, until the Government of Indonesia has thoroughly investigated this issue and demonstrated its total commitment to the supremacy of the law and its international obligations.
7. That the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF) immediately suspend Aceh from its membership, until the Aceh Government has demonstrated its commitment to upholding the Laws of Aceh and Indonesia, and the goals and agenda of the GCF.
The link of complete demand is posted
Please publicly reaffirm your commitment to the enforcement of Indonesia’s National Laws.