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Suharto resignation an opportunity
for environmental stability


Rainforest Action Network Press Release: May 21, 1998
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"Suharto's resignation is an opportunity for Indonesia to achieve not only social and economic stability, but environmental stability as well. The massive fires that are destroying Indonesia's rainforests have international repercussions, and are the direct result of the catastrophic logging practices of Indonesia's timber companies - many of which have ties to Suharto's regime. The International Monetary Fund put a moratorium on funding when the anti-Suharto demonstrations erupted in Jakarta. This funding should not be resumed until environmental issues affecting the international community are resolved, and a popularly elected government is in power." -- Christopher Hatch, Campaigns Director.

SAN FRANCISCO - Suharto's resignation as president of Indonesia is an opportunity for the country to attain social, economic and environmental stability. Rainforest Action Network urges the International Monetary Fund not to resume funding until conditions are met to establish a popularly elected government there, and to curb the destruction of the country's old growth rainforests.

Indonesia has always been a rogue state when it comes to the environment," said RAN's Campaigns Director, Christopher Hatch; "and voices that would speak in opposition to government environmental practices have been silenced as adamantly as those who opposed Suharto himself."

The fires still burning in Borneo underscore Indonesia's irresponsible environmental policy. The Indonesian Government admitted that the fires are burning on commercial logging sites. Rainforests - once brimming with life - are chopped down, the stumps burned, the native forests replaced by
tree farms.

The wood lauan, often used in doors and plywood, comes from Indonesia's beleaguered forests, and is sold in the U.S. at Home Depot. Other products made from pulped old growth trees include toilet paper and cellulose products, including rayon, camera film and cigarette filters.

Rainforest Action Network works to protect the Earth's rainforests and support the rights of their inhabitants through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action.

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