Advocacy Group Laments Environment Ministry's Ban on Foreign Researchers

1 December 2022 20:05 WIB

TEMPO.CO, JakartaThe Academic Freedom Advocacy Team deems the boycotting of foreign researchers by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) as an anti-science stance. The advocacy team argues that it goes against the principle of academic freedom and violates the autonomy of science.

The Jakarta Legal Aid (LBH Jakarta) head of advocacy Charlie Albajili, which joins the team of advocates, asserted that such a policy is troublesome for Indonesia’s democracy and fails to align with the good governance principle. 

He criticized the KLHK’s Circular letter filed under No. S.1447/MENLHK-KSDAE/KKHSG/KSA.2/9/2022, which he believes does not have a legal foundation. 

Charlie said that the issuance of such a policy by the Ministry shows that the government is reluctant to listen to the results of studies that tarnish the government, which he believes is another form of being anti-criticism. 

Reported on August 19, the Minister of Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya Bakar, said the orangutan population in Indonesia was far from facing extinction, which was mentioned during the commemoration of World Orangutan Day.

A number of foreign research teams consisting of Erik Meijaard and Julie Sherman conducted research studies on orangutans in Indonesia and found that the orangutan population in Indonesia continued to decline and no data was found to suggest otherwise.

The two researchers then published their results online on September 15, as an opinion piece.

The day before the article was released, on September 14, 2022, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry stated that the researchers' findings as "negative indications and could discredit the government and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry".

Due to this, the researchers were not permitted to conduct studies in the country. 

MIRZA BAGASKARA

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