Greenpeace Southeast Asia

Every cloud has a silver lining by Chuck Baclagon

When both you and the journalists who are accompanying you start getting arrested and deported it’s usually a sign that you’re doing something right. At least that’s the case if you work for an organisation that takes direct action against injustice.

Amidst the detainments and deportations, tensions and tears in Indonesia – there is good news! The Indonesian government has just suspended the license of paper and pulp giant APRIL on the Kampar Peninsula. This means that they are forbidden to destroy any carbon-rich forests or peatlands in this area – pending a review of the company’s permits.

Our activists have been stopping forest and peatland destruction on the peninsula and highlighting the significant role this destruction plays in climate change. With just 17 days before the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen they have clearly been ruffling a few feathers in Indonesia. But they have also significantly raised the level of international attention on the deforestation issue.

As the authorities are removing our activists, we’re calling on the President of Indonesia to permanently remove the real offenders – and show real leadership in the run up to Copenhagen and stop the ongoing forest destruction by major corporations – click here to take action and support this call.

It is unclear at the moment if anyone from outside Indonesia or from the press is going to be allowed to visit the camp, despite their status either as legitimate guests of the country or journalists. There is also of course the risk that the authorities will try and close the camp down again. We simply can’t afford to let that happen. The Indonesian authorities need to stop intimidating peaceful activists who are trying to help President Yudhoyono fulfill the commitment he has made to cut Indonesia’s massive CO2 emissions.

When the police tried to shut down our camp last time they were stopped by overwhelming numbers of local people coming out in support of the camp. Once again the local community have returned to the camp to show support despite the fact that police surveillance still hangs over the camp like a dark cloud. We can’t be sure what will happen next…

But here’s a message with even more good news from Chiara, an Italian activist from Sicily, who wrote this as she was about to be deported from Indonesia earlier today. She was detained by police before she even reached the camp!

Hello forest fighters!As you maybe already know I’m one of the most “dangerous Italians in Indonesia” and I will leave the country in few hours to come back Italy. By now I am sure that many of you are aware of what’s been happening to our activists at the Climate Defenders Camp.

Tom, Corinna and the 2 journalists who were accompanying us to the camp were given the deportation order two days ago and yesterday we came back to Jakarta where Raimondo (journalist) and I were picked up by the people of the Italian embassy – who took us under their authority.

Tom and I participated in a press conference which was organised by the Greenpeace South East Asia office so that we could tell our story to international and local media.

Since we were stopped by the police just a few kilometres away from the camp – the Greenpeace office in Italy started issuing press releases and faxes. They also made calls to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here. They did an excellent job and this produced STRONG outcomes in the media – making waves to ALL political levels in Italy.

I gave dozens of interviews with national newspapers, radio and
magazines. Yesterday the Espresso published an interview with Raimondo together with a beautiful photo gallery.

And the response is overwhelming! The Italian government has now publicly declared a strong position on forest protection in order to save the climate – for the first time!

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also demanded an explanation from the Italian ambassador in Indonesia – just as the Indonesian Vice President and his delegation is arriving in Rome for a diplomatic visit.

In a few hours I will be escorted by the ambassador to the airport to get my passport and then I am being deported to Italy. I really would like to send the strongest embrace to all the people at the camp that I couldn’t join. I’m very proud of what you did and will keep doing!

Please stay tuned. It is far from over – and we really need your support!

baci e abbracci a tutti

>>Support the Climate Defenders Camp by writing the President of Indonesia today! It only takes a few seconds to send the letter through our website and you don’t need even need to pick up a pen!

>>Get all the blogs from the Climate Defenders Camp!

1 Comment so far
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