Arriving at Jakarta’s international airport, the executive director of Greenpeace UK John Sauven was blocked from entering Indonesia by immigration officials and is being deported, despite obtaining a business visa without any problems. He travelled to Indonesia to visit Sumatra, and to take part in discussions with various officials and Indonesian companies.

Shortly after John was issued with a visa in London two weeks ago, stories appeared in the Indonesian media claiming that John had been refused a visa and that he had already been turned away from Indonesia when he tried to enter the country for a forestry conference – he hadn’t set foot outside the UK at that time, hadn’t planned to attend the conference, and had already been given his visa for today’s trip. According to Greenpeace, there are some influential forces behind these false claims.
“We’ve been given no official explanation why John was refused entry, but it’s the latest in a series of challenges to our Indonesian team, at the same time that we’ve increased our campaign pressure against the notorious pulp and paper company Asia Pulp and Paper,” wrote Greenpeace in a blog post. 

“Over the past few months, there have been a number of attempts to undermine our work in Indonesia to halt the country’s spiraling deforestation rates. Accusations have made about the legal status of our Indonesian office and the source of its funding, none of which hold any water, while small demonstrations have also been organized outside our office in Jakarta. It has been challenging for Greenpeace staff and volunteers there to say the least.” 

Gonjang Raharjo, a spokesman for the Indonesian ministry of justice and human rights, told the Financial Times, Sauven was not welcome in Indonesia. “Even if he had a visa, he was informed not to come to Indonesia. He has cornered the Indonesian government several times, portraying it in a negative light through bad campaigns,” he said.