Letter by Friends of the Earth, France
Mr. Alexander Konovalov,
On July 21st, the Russian government included one the oldest environmental non-governmental organization Ecodefense on the Ministry of Justice “foreign agent” roster. As national and international organizations from XXXXX countries, we strongly condemn this decision that criminalizes environmental defenders and supporters of social and environmental justice.
We strongly condemn this decision of the Russian authorities that was taken while proceedings to determine their status have either not yet concluded or even started and that leaves some these organizations without any recourse to contest this labelling.
We are very concerned about the adoption of the “foreign agent” law in November 2012 and the motivations for this adoption as only this environmental organization – Ecodefense – and several more human rights groups are listed in the “foreign agents” roster right now.
While the Russian authorities should protect human rights and support the organizations that help it to do so by bringing human rights violations in Russia to light, this decision illustrates threaten even more democratic rights and leave Russian citizens under the threat of arbitrary choices.
We also particularly condemn the listing of the environmental association Ecodefense for the campaign against Baltic nuclear plant construction near Kaliningrad. Protesting nuclear power cannot be considered as a crime and discussing risks of nuclear is a democratic right. We have been working with Ecodefense for many years and acknowledged the quality of its work as an organization that works independently from any other political power for the people and the environment in Russia and elsewhere.
We urge you to stop repression and let Ecodefense as other environmental and human rights organizations work free in Russia. We called the Russian authorities to reverse their decision to include Ecodefense on the “foreign agent” roster and repeal the November 2012 “foreign agent” law, which brings under threat civil and democratic rights.
Les Amis de la Terre – Friends of the Earth France