JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia has been accused of attacking Greenpeace after the environmental group said on Thursday a second campaigner had been deported by immigration officials in less than a week amid a row over deforestation.
Last week, Greenpeace accused Indonesia of trying to undermine its work in halting deforestation after one of its directors was stopped from entering the country.
Andy Tait, a forests campaigner for Greenpeace, was detained by immigration authorities on Wednesday, the group said in a statement.
Tait’s work focused on attempts to reform the work practices of Indonesian paper giant Asia Pulp and Paper, which it has accused of destroying rainforests.
“Greenpeace is coming under attack in Indonesia because of our work to stop deforestation in the country,” said Nur Hidayati, head of Greenpeace’s Indonesia office, describing the latest incidents as part of a smear campaign.
“Blocking Greenpeace campaigners from Indonesia won’t stop our work to end deforestation in the country.”
Indonesia’s Immigration Office said Tait was deported for “purely immigration purposes”.
“We suspect he was doing some journalistic activities, while the permit given to him was not for that purpose,” Maryoto Sumadi, the spokesman for the Immigration office, told Reuters.
He said Tait was deported late on Wednesday.
Greenpeace said last week there had been accusations about the legal status of its Indonesia operation and the source of its funding over the past few weeks, as well as small demonstrations outside its Jakarta office.
Indonesia is seen as a key player in the fight against climate change and is under intense international pressure to curb its rapid deforestation rate and destruction of carbon-rich peatlands.
A year ago, Greenpeace accused palm oil giant Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology (SMART) of clearing peat land and forests that sheltered endangered species.
The palm oil producer said in February it would work with the government and a non-profit body to improve its forest conservation policies.
A moratorium on new permits to clear forests in Indonesia, the world’s top palm oil producer, came into force in May for an initial two years.
In June this year, Greenpeace criticised toy manufacturers it accused of using packaging produced by Asia Pulp and Paper.
Reporting by Michael Taylor and Olivia Rondonuwu; Editing by Paul Tait