Indonesia: Govt Threatens to Deport Leonardo DiCaprio Over Mount Leuser Visit

Ratri M Siniwi Jakarta Globe 1 Apr 16;

Jakarta. The immigration service has threatened on Thursday (31/03) to deport Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio over his visit to the Mount Leuser National Park in Aceh during the weekend.

The actor and activist is accused of running a so-called "black campaign" against palm oil plantations in Aceh in an effort to discredit the Indonesian government and the country's palm oil industry, according to immigration service director general Ronny F. Sompi.

"If there are statements that discredit the government and the interests of Indonesia, he could be deported," warned Ronny, whose department is closely monitoring DiCaprio's activities in Indonesia.

Immigration authorities could deport the Oscar winner and his team, who are in the country on tourist visas, if they violate the terms of their visas, Ronny added.

"If [DiCaprio] is in Indonesia for other purposes, such as creating a public disturbance and harming the state's interests, immigration is ready to deport him," Ronny said.

This move was supported by Firman Subagyo, a member of the energy commission in the House of Representatives. The Golkar Party politician said he believes the actor's visit was facilitated by nongovernmental organizations wearing "environmental masks," that have been working to discredit the Indonesian government.

However, online environmental news portal EcoWatch confirmed with DiCaprio's team that the actor and his entourage have already left Indonesia on Thursday.

Leonardo DiCaprio is not the first Hollywood actor who faced deportation threats by the government for environmental activism. Actor Harrison Ford faced the same threat in 2013, after conducting a hard-hitting interview with the Indonesian forestry minister, urging him to take action against illegal logging in Sumatra.


Indonesia denies DiCaprio could be 'blacklisted' for pro-environment support
After an Indonesian government official said Leonardo DiCaprio could be deported for “provocative” comments made on social media, a minister has praised the actor for his efforts to highlight the plight of Indonesia’s rainforests.
Channel NewsAsia 5 Apr 16;

SINGAPORE: Indonesia’s Minister of the Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya refuted talk that Leonardo DiCaprio could be blacklisted from the country following the actor’s comments on social media over the plight of various wildlife species in the Sumatran rainforests.

DiCaprio, who visited Indonesia in March, incurred the ire of the Indonesian immigration director-general Ronny Sompie after making statements on the impact the palm oil industry was having on the populations of rhinos, tigers, orangutans and Sumatran elephants in the Leuser rainforest ecosystem.

“If there are statements that discredit the government and the interests of Indonesia, he could be deported,” said Mr Ronny to news portal Republika. “We can blacklist him from returning to Indonesia at any time if he keeps posting incitement or provocative statements.”

Dr Siti told foresthints.news on Saturday (Apr 2) said that DiCaprio’s concerns were “sincere” and “substantial” and that he acted in good faith. “I am open to working together with DiCaprio in a joint effort whereby both of us can have our concerns addressed, including those that pertain to the Leuser Ecosystem.”

She added: “It’s really not relevant to link the concerns conveyed by DiCaprio with immigration matters.”

CHAMPION OF ENVIRONMENTAL CAUSES

The actor, an ardent supporter of environmental causes, was pictured accompanied by local environmentalists and flanked by two critically endangered Sumatran elephants.

The elephants are among a dizzying array of rare animals who live in Leuser's dense rainforests.

DiCaprio said on his Instagram account that his foundation, which supports numerous environmental projects, was backing local groups to establish a "mega-fauna sanctuary" in the area.

He described the area as "the last place on Earth where Sumatran orangutans, tigers, rhinos and elephants coexist in the wild".

Local green activist Farwiza Fahan, who met DiCaprio on his visit, said the sanctuary was aimed at giving more protection to the area, but the plan was still in the early stages.

Like much of Indonesia's rainforests, the area is under threat from the aggressive expansion of palm oil and pulp and paper plantations, while endangered animals are targeted by poachers and locals who view them as pests.

But the area faces an additional threat after authorities in the province of Aceh - which includes much of the Leuser ecosystem - pushed through a plan to open up new swathes of virgin forest for commercial exploitation and lay roads.

The central government in Jakarta, which must approve such locally-made plans, has asked Aceh to revise it, but activists claim that local authorities are pushing ahead with it.

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