Indonesian Greenpeace campaigners Hapsoro (left) and Ginger Cassady (from San Francisco, California) displays a banner that says “Stop Forest Crime” protesting against illegal logging in Indonesia.

Indonesian Greenpeace campaigners Hapsoro (left) and Ginger Cassady (from San Francisco, California) displays a banner that says “Stop Forest Crime” protesting against illegal logging in Indonesia.

The US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) has reported that corruption in Indonesia’s forestry industry costs the government US$2 billion per year.

The report, “Wild Money: The human rights consequences of illegal logging and corruption in Indonesia’s forestry sector,” launched on Tuesday said that more than half of all Indonesian timber from 2003 to 2006 was logged illegally and was not taxed.

It said that unreported subsidies to the forestry industry and tax evasion by exporters exacerbated the losses.

“Widespread corruption in the forest industry is the dirty secret no one wants to talk about,” Joe Sanders, deputy program director at the Human Rights Watch.

The report said the average $2 billion in losses was enough to provide a package of basic health care benefits to 100 million of Indonesia’s poor. — JP