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Ukraine: Prominent environmental rights defender Mr Volodymyr Honcharenko beaten to death
On 4 August 2012, Mr Volodymyr Honcharenko died in the intensive care unit of the Mechnikov Regional Clinical Hospital in Dnipropetrovsk after being brutally attacked by unknown individuals three days previously.
Volodymyr Honcharenko was the head of The Social Movement of Ukraine “For the right of citizens to environmental safety”. The organisation aims at securing ecological safety as a priority right, and highlighting issues related to the contamination of water reservoirs and the quality of drinking water, issues connected with the nuclear power industry, radioactive contamination and a safe environment. Volodymyr Honcharenko was also a member of the Academy of Engineering Sciences and the International Academy of Ecology, Human Safety and Nature.
On 1 August 2012 Mr Volodymyr Honcharenko was driving his car en route to his summer house when he was stopped in the road by another car. Several men got out of the other vehicle and brutally attacked him. He was taken to the Mechnikov Regional Clinical Hospital where he died of his injuries on 4 August.
On 27 July 2012, Volodymyr Honcharenko gave a press conference, during which he revealed information about 180 tonnes of chemically contaminated and radioactive metal waste in the Saksahansk District of Kryvy Rih. He highlighted the fact that since 2005 Ukraine has not published annual reports on the environment as stipulated by law. His key argument was that “the worst enemy of the environment is indifference and incompetence, and sometimes also criminal inaction of officials responsible for monitoring the environment's safety for people's life and health”.
Front Line Defenders strongly condemns the killing of Volodymyr Honcharenko and believes that it is directly linked to his legitimate activities as an environmental rights defender, particularly in light of reports from his colleagues that he had been threatened before.