Monday, April 25, 2011

50 Organizations Declare Solidarity with Italian NGO, Terra! After Conviction

More than 50 environmental organizations - European, international and Indonesian - sign statement in support of the NGO Terra!, targeted by the Italian paper company Cartiere Pigna.

Last January, the environmental organization Terra! was convicted by an Italian court for exposing links between the Italian paper manufacturer Cartiere Pigna and the deforestation of Indonesian rainforests carried out by Asia Pulp & Paper (APP). The destruction of Indonesian rainforests has become one of the major causes of greenhouse gas emissions globally and is threatening the continued existence of Sumatran tigers, rhinos and elephants, among many other species. APP has also been implicated in numerous human rights abuses and corruption. Today, on Earth Day, more than 50 NGOs declare their solidarity with Terra! in a joint statement. Terra! is a Steering Group member of the European Environmental Paper Network.

Instead of admitting the truth and demonstrating corporate accountability and cleaning up its production, Cartiere Pigna sought charges against Terra! in a suit for damages to its corporate reputation. In court Terra! proved both that Pigna is a customer of APP, submitting the details of trade invoices - and that Pigna's products contain fibres coming from tropical deforestation (mixed tropical hardwood) and from plantations related to deforestation (acacia), according to paper fibre tests carried out by the independent fibre testing company IPS Testing. Despite this, Terra! was convicted for damaging Pigna's brand name, and was sentenced to pay EUR 20,000 plus expenses, thereby putting the association at risk of closure.

Terra! will of course appeal. Meanwhile it has received solidarity from more than 50 environmental groups: "The law should prosecute those companies involved in environmental crimes against the Indonesian rainforests and against the global climate, instead of convicting those pointing out the problem”, says the statement. “This is a blatant abuse of the right to free speech and an attempt to prevent environmental campaigning, and we express our full solidarity with Terra!"

Among the signatures are groups such as Greenpeace International, Friends of the Earth International, Rainforest Action Network, Forest Ethics and many others.

"Campaigns against large corporations can be risky - especially for smaller NGOs this can be associated with substantial financial risks”, says Daniel Hausknost, coordinator of the European Environmental Paper Network (EEPN), an umbrella organization representing 53 environmental organizations across Europe, which promoted the call for solidarity for Terra! “The Terra! activists have done a great job and now they need our support. We regard Pigna's attack on Terra! to be an attack on all of us working for a sustainable environment. The environmental movement must continue to refuse any gagging orders by the industry", he concluded.

The solidarity statement has been signed by: Aktivis Sosial, ARA, Both Ends, CAPPA, Chlorine Free Products Association, Climate for Ideas, Dogwood Alliance, FERN, Euroepan Enviromental Paper Network, Forest Peoples Programme, ForestEthics, Forum Environment and Development, Forum ├ľkologie & Papier, Friends of the Earth Europe, Friends of the Earth International, Friends of the Siberian Forests, GLOBAL 2000/Friends of the Earth Austria, Green Press Initiative, Greenpace International, Initiative 2000 plus, Jaringan Kerja Pemetaan Partisipatif (JKPP), Kabut Foundation, Kaliptra Sumatera, Legambiente, Les Amis de la Terre, Luonto Liitto, , Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth Netherlands), New York Climate Action Group, Ole Siosiomaga Society, Orangutan Information Centre, Pro Natura/Friends of the Earth Switzerland, Pro REGENWALD, Protect the Forest, Rainforest Action Network, Rainforest Foundation UK, Rainforest Relief, Rettet den Regenwald e. V. , Robin Wood, Salva la Selva, Satunama, Sawit Watch, Scale Up, Stiftung Artenschutz, Sumatran Orangutan Society, TELAPAK, The Finnish Nature League, Timberwatch Coalition, Transnational Institute, Umweltbildung, Urgewald, WALHI - Friends of the Earth Indonesia, Wartawan, World Rainforest Movement, Yayasan Setara Jambi, Yayasan Wahana Bumi Hijau.


For further information contact: 
Daniel Hausknoat, co-ordinator, European Environmental Paper Network (EEPN)
+44-1782-769853

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