Riau NGOs file legal notice to Forest Ministry

EoF News / 26 July 2010

PEKANBARU (EoF News)— At least 12 non-governmental organizations in Riau province sent a legal notice against Minister of Forestry over conversion license issued by the official in Kampar Peninsula, reports said recently.

A group called Support team for Kampar Peninsula Protection (TP2SK) on Saturday again filed a legal notice to Minister of Forestry, Tribunnews.com reported (24/7/2010). It was the second legal notice sent by the group following the previous one in June this year.

The legal notice was filed to ensure by legal that the Ministry’s policy to continue forest clearance in Kampar Peninsula is against the existing Indonesian Laws as well as to it is aimed at providing sustainability of the carbon-rich peat forest.

The group claimed that the forest clearance license in Kampar Peninsula had caused legal and social disputes among communities in Teluk Meranti village, Pelalawan district.

TP2SK said that on 12 June 2009, the Ministry of Forestry issued the third amendment on granting industrial timber plantation management to PT Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper, a subsidiary of Asian Pacific Resources International Holding Limited (APRIL).

The license issuance is against Presidential Decree Number 32 year 1990 on protection of deep peat more than 3 meter. The Ministry is considered breaching several regulations by issuing logging license or Annual Work Plan (RKT) to PT RAPP in Kampar Peninsula, said Suryadi, director of Legal Aid Institute (LBH) of Pekanbaru.

TP2SK also responded to Tropenbos Indonesia, a forestry consultancy firm, which replied petition submitted by the NGOs group.

“We urge Tropenbos to apologize to Teluk Meranti villagers whom mentioned by the report [of Tropenbos] as lazy community. Tropenbos should withdraw the report which against the research principles as it is dishonest on its research methodology,” said Johny Setiawan Mundung, coordinator of Riau Peat Communities Network (JMGR).

Susanto Kurniawan, coordinator of TP2SK, said that the natural forest clearance licenses for 120,000 hectares of Riau’s forests which issued by the Ministry in March this year is a setback to reduce greenhouse gas emission by 41 percent as announced by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

“President SBY should probe officials at the Forestry Ministry who undermined the Indonesian government’s emission agenda that announced by the President in Copenhagen and Oslo to apply moratorium of deforestation,” Susanto said as quoted by Tribunnews.com as saying.