Sukanto tanoto: Return lands stolen from local communities

Earlier this week, hundreds of Indigenous villagers from Sipituhuta and Pandumaan communities in North Sumatra risked life and limb by standing between their forest home and the logging machinery of PT Toba Pulp Lestari (TPL), a company affiliated with paper giant APRIL. In response, Indonesia’s notoriously abusive security agency, known as Brimob, was called in to forcibly suppress the protest. At least 16 village members have now been arrested in connection to this latest dispute.

This case has been simmering since 2009, when the APRIL affiliate began deforesting the community’s territory and planting eucalyptus plantations on their ancestral land.

In September, APRIL workers and security forces again began to clear forest on the community’s land. The community gathered in large numbers to stop the machinery, confiscating weapons and chainsaws from the logging crew. Three days later, eight villagers were summoned to the police station. Instead, nearly 1,000 community members arrived in solidarity.

This land conflict is just one example of the widespread human rights violations that have plagued APRIL’s operations for many years. It is past time for APRIL to make respecting the rights of local communities its new business-as-usual. Please write to CEO Sukanto Tanoto today and ask APRIL to release the Indigenous villagers still being held, to peacefully resolve this conflict, and to return the community lands it has stolen.


Canada rejects Sukanto Tanoto

Woodfibre’s Latest Owner Worries Greenpeace


Greenpeace is questioning the environmental record of APRIL, the logging company of Indonseian billionaire Sukanto Tanoto. Tanoto recently bough the Woodfibre site, and plans to use it for a small scale LNG facility. Photo: Woodfibre Facebook group

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: March. 16, 2013

Greenpeace Canada is raising concerns over an Indonesian tycoon’s plan to use the Woodfibre site for a small scale LNG facility.

Billionaire Sukanto Tanoto’s energy company, Pacific Oil & Gas, recently announced the purchase of Woodfibre pulp mill to operate a ‘small-scale’ LNG facility.

Environmental watchdog Greenpeace says the environmental record of Tanoto’s logging company, APRIL, is far from perfect.

Shane Moffatt, a Toronto-based forest campaigner for Greenpeace, said Tanoto’s company was a ‘leading driver of deforestation’.

“Recent government data shows 60 per cent of the fibre supply to his main pulp mill is actually rainforest wood,” he said.

Moffatt said in 2012, APRIL planned to feed its Sumatran pulp mill by trashing another 60,000 hectares of rainforest – an area nearly the size of Singapore.

“As long as his company operates, the future also looks bleak for the rare Sumatran tiger, an excellent swimmer well-adapted to the rainforest,” Moffatt added.

“I would really question what his track record means for his Canadian plans,” he told the Province.

Greenpeace also released a map which shows areas where the company has recently trashed thousands of hectares of peatland forests.

Tanoto, however, seems to have accepted and learned from his past mistakes.

In an undated interview published on his website, Tanoto said he is working with international NGOs and conservationists to protect the rainforest and prevent illegal logging.

“We’re also constantly trying to expand the number of tree species we use on our plantations to maintain bio-diversity,” Tantoto said.

 Pacific Energy Corp has its head office in Jakarta.

 In a statement, the officials said they are in the early stage of planning, analysis and community engagement.’

 Tanoto is one of the richest Indonesian, according to the Forbes magazine, with a total net worth estimated at $2.8 billion.