Thursday, 9 June 2016

Indonesia plans tougher punishments for poachers

Environmentalists are sceptical that plans to quadruple maximum jail terms from five to 20 years will be effective.

Agence France-Presse
Wednesday 8 June 201611.52 BST

Indonesia plans to quadruple maximum jail terms for animal poachers and traffickers in a major overhaul of wildlife crime laws, but environmentalists expressed scepticism on Wednesday that the changes would be effective.

Maximum sentences for poaching and trading protected animals will be increased from five years to 20 under the new legislation proposed by the environment and forestry ministry.
“We want stronger law enforcement, we want people who transgress the law to face higher sentences,” Tachrir Fathoni, a senior ministry official who is spearheading efforts get the law passed, told AFP.

Indonesia is one of the most biodiverse nations on Earth, home to vast tracts of rainforest and a kaleidoscope of rare animals, from orangutans to tigers and rhinos.

But many have been pushed to the brink of extinction. While destruction of their habitats due to rampant logging has played a role, endangered animals are also frequently targeted by poachers who sell their body parts for use in Chinese medicine.

The government has faced criticism for inaction, with green groups saying laws relating to protected animals are not strong enough.

The environment and forestry ministry hopes the planned overhaul of the old law, which dates from 1990, can improve the situation.

The ministry will submit its proposal to parliament in the coming months, and hopes the new regulations will come into force next year.

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