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Walhi deems govt's statement on forest fires misleading

Tempo - June 23, 2020

Dewi Nurita, Jakarta – The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) executive director, Nur Hidayati, openly opposed the statement made by Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD who claimed that the government had managed to minimize land and forest fires in the past four to five years.

"The statement is misleading and not based on facts," said Nur Hidayati to Tempo on Tuesday, June 23.

The facts, Hidayati elaborated, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) reported that the worst wildfires occurred in 2019 since 2017 that damaged almost one million hectare areas. Meanwhile in 2015, 2.6 million hectares of land were burned.

"The President has not even followed the Supreme Court's verdict on the 2015 wildfires challenged and won by residents of Central Kalimantan," said Hidayati.

Rather than making a baseless claim, she went on, the government should immediately review all concession permits given to corporations and prohibit massive forest conversion.

"If the effort is not carried out, the government will always play the role of firefighters and not solve the core problem of the fires," Hidayati remarked.

Earlier today, June 23, Mahfud Md claimed that the government has succeeded in curbing the wildfire cases in the past four to five years.

"We have managed to minimize forest fires. Protests from environmental activists and other countries in the past four to five years have not been so intense now," said Mahfud after a limited meeting led by the president at Presidential Palace Complex, Jakarta.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1356994/walhi-deems-govts-statement-on-forest-fires-misleading