Indonesian gov't threatens to deport Leonardo DiCaprio
JAKARTA, Indonesia — The Indonesian government isn't happy with Leonardo DiCaprio.
The Hollywood actor's visit to Mt. Leuser National Park last weeked with his fellow actors Adrien Brody and Fisher Stevens successfully drew the public's attention to environmental issues in the country.
DiCaprio posted several photos on Instagram from his visit, including one of him with a group of environmentalists.
"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," he captioned the photo.
"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"
Another photo of him and an elephant was captioned:
"The lowland #rainforest of the Leuser Ecosystem are considered the world’s best remaining habitat for the critically endangered Sumatran #elephant. In these forests, ancient elephant migratory paths are still used by some of the last #wild herds of Sumatran elephants. But the expansion of Palm Oil plantations is fragmenting the #forest and cutting off key elephant migratory corridors, making it more difficult for elephant families to find adequate sources of food and water. The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is supporting local partners to establish a mega-fauna sanctuary in the Leuser Ecosystem, last place on Earth where Sumatran orangutans, tigers, rhinos and elephants coexist in the wild."
His visit was welcomed by locals and the environmentalists, but his actions angered some Indonesian officials.
The officials claimed that DiCaprio's environmental campaign discredits the government and the country's palm oil industry. Indonesia and Malaysia are the largest producers of palm oil in the world.
"If there is a statement that discredits the government and the interests of Indonesia, he could be deported. Immigration has the right to deport him while he is in our country," Ronny F Sompie, the director general of Immigration at the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights (Kemenkumham) said to local media, Republika.
Sompie added that DiCaprio's visa only allows him to do excursions, and said if he comes to Indonesia for other purposes, such as doing activities that "disrupt public order" and harm the interests of Indonesia, "the Immigration department is ready to deport him".
He said DiCaprio flew to Sumatra on Saturday, March 26, from Japan and is currently in Jakarta. He said his department is closely monitoring his itinerary.
Another parlimanet member, Firman Subagyo, said DiCaprio’s presence in Indonesia was not just to promote environmental sustainability but also to attack oil palm plantations. He believed that DiCaprio's visit was facilitated by environmental NGOs which have been undermining the sovereignty of Indonesia.
Despite talks of his possible deportation however, DiCaprio posted yet another photo Thursday evening, March 31, of him touching the hand of and endangered Sumatran orangutan.
"As the forest of the #Indonesian #LeuserEcosystem continues to be cleared to meet demand for Palm Oil, the critically endangered Sumatran #orangutan is being pushed to the brink of extinction," he captioned the photo.
"Here, at the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme’s Orangutan Quarantine Center, rescued orangutans are rehabilitated so they can be released back into the wild. If we don't stop this rampant destruction, the Leuser Ecosystem and the Sumatran orangutans that call it home could be lost forever. Click the link in the bio to support this important work. #Indonesia.
What do you think about the take of the Indonesian government on the actor's visit? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. —Rappler.com