Human Rights Watch: Russia - ‘Year of Ecology’ a Sham

posted 28 Nov 2017, 10:30 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 28 Nov 2017, 10:34 ]
5 Years of ‘Foreign Agents’ Law Devastates Environmental Groups

Satellite imagery that showing active wildfires (outlined in red) and smoke near the shoreline of Lake Baikal in southern Russia, July 27, 2017. The Russian environmental group Baikal Environmental Wave was deemed a "foreign agent" organization because it received foreign funding and (among other activities) published an article criticizing government inaction during the wildfires in mid-2015. The organization closed in early 2016. © 2015 Jeff Schmaltz/NASA, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response

(Moscow) – Russia’s “foreign agents” law, which entered into force on this date five years ago, has been used to end or curtail a broad range of important work to protect Russia’s natural environment, Human Rights Watch said today.

Interviews with directors of current or defunct environmental organizations across Russia reveal that at least 14 environmental nongovernmental organizations have stopped work rather than continue to operate while labelled a “foreign agent.” Authorities have used the law to eliminate or restrain groups advocating against state-sanctioned development projects, expressing concerns about proposed government policies, and petitioning authorities for the release of imprisoned environmental activists. [Read more]