Leonardo DiCaprio will not face the threat of deportation if he travels back to Indonesia, a government minister clarified this weekend, following an earlier suggestion from a different government official that DiCaprio could be “blacklisted” for his criticism of the nation’s palm oil industry.
“My view is that DiCaprio’s concerns are both sincere and substantial, and he has certainly acted in good faith,” Siti Nurbaya, Indonesia’s minister of the environment and forestry, told foresthints.news. “In fact, we largely share his concerns on this matter.
“In light of this and to reciprocate his sincerity and good intentions, I am open to working together with DiCaprio in a joint effort whereby both of us can have our concerns addressed, including those that pertain to the Leuser Ecosystem.”
While the minister made clear she appreciates DiCaprio’s motives, she also noted it was “rather unfortunate” that DiCaprio had not obtained comprehensive information about issues such as deforestation in Indonesia, according to the Associated Press. Nurbaya also said the government is “working hard” to protect the environment and “fixing the problems of the past decade.”
DiCaprio, 41, visited the nation recently, and in several social media posts last week he criticized slash-and-burn practices which clear land for agriculture, according to the Associated Press.
“A world-class biodiversity hotspot, the #Indonesian Leuser Ecosystem is one of the most important areas of intact #rainforest left in Southeast Asia,” DiCaprio captioned one Tuesday post.
“Its forests are home to the densest remaining populations of the critically endangered Sumatran #orangutan. But Palm Oil expansion is destroying this unique place,” he wrote.
“We support [DiCaprio’s] concern to save [Indonesia’s] Leuser Ecosystem. But we can blacklist him from returning to Indonesia at any time if he keeps posting incitement or provocative statements in his social media,” Heru Santoso, spokesman for the Directorate General for Immigration at the Law and Human Rights Ministry, told the AP on Saturday.
Though Santoso said then that no groups have requested DiCaprio be barred from Indonesia, he said that would be their right if they objected to his comments, according to the AP.
But Nurbaya was “keen to clarify that DiCaprio would not be deported,” according to foresthints.news.
“There was even an official from my ministry serving in the province who accompanied DiCaprio on his visit, in particular when he went to see the orangutans in the Gunung Leuser National Park. It’s really not relevant to link the concerns conveyed by DiCaprio with immigration matters,” she said.
The Leuser Ecosystem supplies clean water to nearby residents and is one of the world’s last places where orangutans, tigers and rhinos coexist. DiCaprio’s eponymous foundation is teaming up with local partners to establish a “mega-fauna sanctuary in the Leuser Ecosystem.”
The Oscar-winning Revenant star – an outspoken environmentalist who has used his award speeches to spotlight the importance of environmental causes – entered Indonesia via private jet on March 26, according to the AP.
His group traveled to Mount Leuser National Park, in Indonesia’s Sumatra, and left the island the next day, according to the AP.
In a second Instagram post, on Thursday, DiCaprio was pictured with a Sumatran orangutan at a conservation center.
“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 wrote.
DiCaprio made similar comments on his Facebook page on Monday.
Nurbaya told foresthints.news she would be visiting the United Nations, in New York City, later this month to discuss climate change; and she said she wished DiCaprio had gotten more and better information from the Indonesian government about deforestation.
“Who knows, if DiCaprio is around New York when I’m at the UN Headquarters, perhaps we can catch up over a cup of coffee,” she said. “I would take the opportunity to explain to him in greater detail about the efforts being undertaken by the [president’s] administration to address climate change issues.”