Indonesian govt threatens to deport Leonardo DiCaprio for criticizing palm oil industry
OSCAR-WINNING actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio is on the receiving end of the Indonesian government’s ire for criticizing oil palm plantations, one of the Southeast Asian country’s largest and most profitable industries, as well as the rampant deforestation of its rainforests.
DiCaprio, who visited local environmental and wildlife NGOs last weekend, said in an Instagram post that the unchecked expansion of the country’s palm oil industry was “destroying” Indonesia’s unique ecosystems.
A world-class biodiversity hotspot, the #Indonesian Leuser Ecosystem is one of the most important areas of intact #rainforest left in Southeast Asia. Its forests are home to the densest remaining populations of the critically endangered Sumatran #orangutan. But Palm Oil expansion is destroying this unique place. Now is the time to save the Leuser Ecosystem. We must develop a permanent solution to protect and restore this valuable natural asset. Click the link in the bio to stand up and #SaveLeuserEcosystem. #Indonesia
A photo posted by Leonardo DiCaprio (@leonardodicaprio) on Mar 29, 2016 at 9:21am PDT
DiCaprio’s criticism of oil palm plantations did not sit well with Indonesian officials, who accused the actor of taking part in a “black campaign” to undermine the government and its sovereignty.
Immigration director-general Ronny Sompie told Republika that if DiCaprio was making statements to discredit the Indonesian government and its interests, then he stood the risk of being deported, as he was visiting the country on a tourist visa.
“The department has the authority to deport foreigners that violate their visa terms as stipulated in Law No. 6/2011 on Immigration,” said Ronny.
However, EcoWatch reported that DiCaprio has already left Indonesia, rendering the government’s threats futile.
While he was in Indonesia, the Hollywood star, along with fellow actors Adrien Brody and Fisher Stevens, paid a visit to Gunung Leuser National Park in Aceh, northwest Sumatra to raise awareness about the area’s imperiled biodiversity and its vital role in keeping the ecosystem in balance.
He shared several pictures of his visit to his Instagram and Twitter accounts, using the hashtag #SaveLeuserEcosystem.
He also included links to a Change.org petition urging Indonesian President Joko Widodo to ensure the protection of the Leuser ecosystem from developers, as it is said to be “the only place where four endangered species (orangutans, elephants, rhino, and Sumatran tigers) can co-exist in one habitat”.
Over the years, DiCaprio has become a strident voice for the environmental movement, raising awareness for causes such as climate change and wildlife conservation. His foundation also channels contributions towards organizations and causes that focus on global environmental issues.
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