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Call for Urgent Presidential Action in Kalimantan

Greenpeace calls for urgent Presidential action in Central Kalimantan.

Jakarta - As the Greenpeace blockade of Central Kalimantan illegal logging operations continued today, the organisation called for the Indonesian President, Mrs Megawati Sukarnoputri, to demand urgent enforcement from her police force. Greenpeace has new evidence the Lamandau river contains a huge backlog of illegally felled logs, many unlicensed saw mills, and that the transport of sawn timber and plywood is continuing.

This call follows yesterday's successful expulsion of the Vietnamese illegal log vessel the Ha Tinh 06 from Indonesian waters by the Navy. Today marks the twelfth day of a constant Greenpeace presence in the area.

Greenpeace investigators have recorded evidence of a vast amount of illegally felled timber backed up in the Lamandau River, near the town of Pangkalan Bun and the Tanjun Puting National Park. This includes kilometers of log rafts, stacks of logs and flitches [squared logs], and the constant movement of loaded log barges up and down the river. This is in an area where there are no operational logging concessions. The logs can only have been illegally felled.

"We are calling on the highest level of the Indonesian government today to take action" said Greenpeace campaigner Stephen Campbell. "The Indonesian Navy, under instructions from the Ministry of Forestry have acted in good faith on the issue of the Ha Tinh 06. It is time for the law enforcement agencies with the jurisdiction to act to take control of the situation. The Indonesian police force must take steps now while there is so much evidence on the ground, and it is the responsibility of the government to compel them to act".

The Ministry of Forestry has a policy to reduce logging quotas in the region. Last month, governors from Kalimantan met and issued a statement that they did not agree with a legal direction to reduce logging quotas (1).

The presence of the Greenpeace flagship S.V. Rainbow Warrior has effectively blocked these logs from being loaded onto vessels in Lamandau Bay. Despite this, the transport of sawn timber and plywood, from potentially unlicensed sawmills continues.

"In an area where the Mafia is well known for its violence and aggression, Greenpeace activists are taking significant personal risks by blockading this area" concluded Campbell.

Indonesia's forest clearance rate has now reached an overwhelming 3.8 million hectares per year. The Paradise Forests of the Asia Pacific are riddled with the problems of illegal and destructive logging and the unchallenged operations of unscrupulous individuals and corporations. The Paradise Forests of Asia-Pacific is defined by Greenpeace as the diverse tropical forests of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and the nearby archipelagos.

Note to the editors KOMPAS, Tuesday January 6 -2004. Kalimantan Governments Reject the Quota of Timber Concessions.

© Scoop Media

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