On the murder of environmentalist Volodymyr Honcharenko
Environmental and human rights activists have responded to the murder of renowned environmentalist Volodymyr Honcharenko with sorrow and anger. They demand a full and objective investigation and that the government ensures that all civic activists are able to carry out their work freely and in safety. The statement is open for endorsement.
Another death in Ukraine. This time of an environmentalist
On 4 August well-known Ukrainian environmentalist, human rights and nature defender Volodymyr Honcharenko died of serious injuries. All those who knew and worked with him see his death as linked with the professional activities of an environmentalist who researched and informed both the public and State institutions about infringements of environmental norms, pollution of the environment, unlawful trade, storage and utilization of metals contaminated with radiation or chemicals, and more. Mr Honcharenko’s activities were fully in accordance with Article 50 of Ukraine’s Constitution, domestic environmental legislation and Ukraine’s international obligations.
On 27 July, at what was to be his last press conference, Volodymyr Honcharenko reported the presence in the Saksahansk district of Kryvy Rih of 180 tonnes of chemically contaminated and radioactive metal scrap.
Ukraine’s environmental community and members of civic society demand:
Ø that an objective investigation be immediately undertaken into all the circumstances around Mr Honcharenko’s death, and that those responsible be severely punished;
Ø that the conditions be ensured for environmental and human rights activists to freely carry out their work in accordance with national legislation and Ukraine’s international commitments, for example, under the Aarhus Convention;
Ø that all is done to ensure that officials carry out their direct obligations regarding observation of human rights and civil liberties, quality of life and environmental safety.
Volodymyr Honcharenko’s death is not only a profound tragedy for his family and friends, but also an irreparable loss for Ukraine’s human rights and environmental protection movement. It is a reflection of and verdict upon the authorities and the State system of environmental safety and safeguarding of public order, as well as upon public officials who flagrantly violate the rights and freedoms of citizens and their entitlement to a clean and safe environment.