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Jul 25, 2012

Join the call for the immediate release of anti-nuclear campaigner detained in Minsk

by Denis Burke — last modified Jul 25, 2012 11:05 AM

Demand the immediate release of anti-nuclear activist Andrey Ozharkovskiy, detained in Belarus


Nuclear plant

GLOBAL 2000/ Friends of the Earth Austria - Three activists were arrested in Minsk when they left their home/office on the day that Russian prime minister Medvedev arrived in Minsk to sign a contract for the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Belarus. 

Four activists were sentenced, three of whom were detained. Russian nuclear physicist and journalist Andrey Ozharkovskiy, Belarusian journalist Tatyana Novikova, manager of the environmental organization EcoDom Irina Sukhy and human rights observer Michael Matskevich are openly against the plans to build a nuclear power plant near Astravetz close to the Lithuanian border.

Although Novikova and Matskevich have since been released, Ozharkovskiy remains in custody.

GLOBAL 2000 have cooperated with the aforementioned activists for years and know them as dedicated, non-violent people. Their activities are consistent with the right to free expression as outlined in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. GLOBAL 2000 call on the Belarusian government:

  • to immediately free Andrey Ozharkovskiy,
  • to drop all charges against all four campaigners,
  • to explain its position on the arrests,
  • to respect freedom of speech now and in the future.

Sign the letter to the Belarusian embassy in Vienna on the GLOBAL 2000 website (External Link: Information in German, scroll down for letter in English)


More information

Anti-nuclear activists detained under suspicious circumstances in Belarus

by Denis Burke — last modified Jul 25, 2012 11:06 AM

GLOBAL 2000 (Friends of the Earth Austria) protests at the Belarusian embassy and called on Austrian Foreign Minister Spindelegger to support their calls for the right to freedom of expression.

Vienna (July 24, 2012) - The Austrian environmental organization GLOBAL 2000 calls on the authoritarian Belarussian regime to immediately release unjustly detained nuclear physicist and journalist Andrey Ozharkovskiy.  Ozharkovskiy was arrested with three other activists last Wednesday while peacefully protesting the signing of a loan agreement between Russia and Belarus for a new nuclear plant in Belarus. His three colleagues have now been released, but Ozharkovskiy remains in custody. The reasons for his ongoing detention remain unclear. GLOBAL 2000 has already protested and demanded that the Belarusian Embassy in Vienna immediately provide clarification of the circumstances of their detained fellow nuclear activists.

Klaus Kastenhofer, CEO of GLOBAL 2000 says that the Belarusian Embassy have not felt the need to explain the undemocratic actions of their government. He requested more information on the arrests directly from the Belarussian authorities but his request was denied. GLOBAL 2000 suspects that the arrest of Andrey Ozharkovskiy and the others (Irina Sukhy, Tatiana Novikova and Michael Matskevich) is a further attempt to intimidate the wider anti-nuclear movement in Belarus.

The first nuclear power plant to be built with Russian funding is planned for an area close to Astravets Belarus (Grodno region), near the Lithuanian border within the next eight years. There are huge concerns within the EU about the construction of new nuclear power plants in an area where Chernobyl's catastrophic effects still have significant repurcussions. “Proactive protests concerning the threat of nuclear disaster have to be taken extremely seriously after the huge meltdowns at Chernobyl and Fukushima. Fukushima has demonstrated very clearly what happens if doubts about this high-risk technology are suppressed.” Kastenhofer concluded.

Further information:
GLOBAL 2000 / Friends of the Earth Austria
Press Officer: Mag. Lydia Matzka-Saboi  00 43 699/14 2000 26
CEO: Dr. Klaus Kastenhofer          00 43 69914 2000 32

Jul 17, 2012

Miguel Correa has been released

by Denis Burke — last modified Jul 17, 2012 05:45 PM

Following his wrongful arrest for murder, our friend and colleague has been set free.

MiguelIn Paraguay last month, Miguel Correa, a 20 year old working with Friends of the Earth Paraguay was wrongfully arrested after violence broke out during a police-led eviction of peasant farmers.


Shots were fired, resulting in 17 dead and many injured.


Miguel feared that his friend had been injured, so went to the hospital to try and find him. In the confusion he was detained by the police, and wrongfully arrested for murder.


Over the past 48 hours, thousands of Friends of the Earth supporters across the world took action in solidarity with Miguel.


Friends of the Earth demonstrated outside the Paraguayan embassy yesterday to demand his release.


We have just received confirmation that Miguel has now been set free.

This fantastic news is a huge relief for his family and everyone at Friends of the Earth Paraguay.


Thank you for your support and for taking action with us. The pressure really worked.


While we celebrate his freedom, the Paraguayan authorities are yet to respond to our request for a full investigation into the 17 deaths.


We will keep you posted with the latest developments.

Jul 13, 2012

Video: Sit-in and walk-out at the entrance of the Rio+20 Summit

by Denis Burke — last modified Jul 13, 2012 04:10 PM
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On 21 June 2012, Friends of the Earth International delegates joined a sit-in and walk-out at the entrance of the Rio+20 Summit.

Jul 12, 2012

Grave situation of community leaders and academics in Colombia

by Denis Burke — last modified Jul 12, 2012 02:55 PM

Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Caribbean is concerned about the serious situation facing Colombian community leaders and academics committed to the struggle for social and environmental justice. In recent weeks, they have learned of the increasing criminalization and prosecution of some of these social activists .

On Saturday June 8 this year, FELIX MANUEL BANGUERO was arrested. Banguero,member of the Regional Coordination Team for Black Communities development (PCN), the Pilamo Community Council, was indicted on charges of rebellion and conspiracy. 

Banguero is ​​a leader of the PCN, which has stood for organizational commitment to the work of black communities and has served as secretary of culture for Guachené Township. Felix is currently serving as civic culture adviser for Guachené Township.

Last week, the Regional Office of Huila opened a criminal investigation into the distinguished professor MILLER DUSSAN based on a communication from Colonel Juan Francisco Pelaez Ramirez of March 7, 2012, consisting of annexed audiovisual material with which it aims to evaluate “the irregular nature of the behaviour of professor Dussan Miller”, in the demonstrations that have been held against the Quimbo hydroelectric project. Miller is a renowned faculty professor at the Surcolombiana University and does research on social issues. His work is widely known nationally and internationally. His studies and positions on the impacts and conflicts of hydropower, particularly on the Quimbo project, have been published in books, magazines and websites and disseminated in academic and social forums all over the world.

On Saturday, July 7 between 5 and 8 pm, the home and workplace of HILDEBRANDO VÉLEZ GALEANO was raided. Vélez Galeano, renowned environmentalist, professor, member of PCN Palenke Alto Cauca, was director of our partner organization in Colombia and International Coordinator Campaign of Energy and Climate Change in our federation during the years 2009 and 2010.

Since February 17, 2011 when Sandra Viviana Cuellar went missing, his house as well as his daughter's house were simultaneously attacked on two occasions.  Computers with information, primarily concerning the search for Sandra Viviana were stolen, as were papers concerning their academic research and documents related to their social struggles.

Such incidents occur despite these leaders having taken protective measures as stipulated by the IACHR (Inter-American Commission on Human Rights) and programs to protect human rights by the Colombian government. However, according to information received from Colombia, rather than protecting the rights of members of social organizations, they are neither respected nor guaranteed.

 Referring to the instances above, Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Caribbean:

  • Request the Colombian government to respect and ensure fundamental rights to life, association, freedom of thought and expression – including academic expression – for community leaders, activists and intellectuals and their families;
  • Call on the international community to take note of these violations of human rights and support measures for protection of lives and integral rights of our communities and activists; 
  • Expresses its support and solidarity with the Colombian people and the people involved in the defense of their territories and cultures.

What can you do?

Show your solidarity by writing a letter to the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to protest the treatment of community leaders and academics:



Calle 10 No. 5-51

Palacio de San Carlos



Jul 08, 2012

Violent action in Peru against activists demonstrating against a Newmont mining project

by Joukje Kolff — last modified Jul 08, 2012 02:50 PM

The violence caused at least 4 deaths and the detention of Rev. Marco Arana. Friends of the Earth International supports the following statement to the Peruvian government and embassies around the world.

nullWe wish to express our contempt for the alarming increase of repression and violation of fundamental rights seen in Peru as the government´s response towards the environmental conflicts in recent months.


For weeks, this completely irresponsible and disproportionate response, with the indiscriminate use of firearms even from helicopters against demonstrators and pedestrians has killed four people and left tens of people wounded in the El Espinar conflict in the Cusco Department; one person has died and various left with gunshot injuries in Bambamarca; in the protests of the town of Celedín in Cajamarca against the Conga mining project which threaten the contamination and disappearance of water sources of the region, three have died and tens of people left with gunshot injuries.


In the same context, we denounce the violent and arbitrary detention of Father Marco Arana, a member of the environmentalist organization, Group for Training and Intervention for Sustainable Development (GRUFIDES), one of the community´s role models in the resistance against the mining industry and leader of the political party ¨Tierra y Dignidad¨ (¨Land and Dignity¨), as was recorded by the media. See video here of the detention.


All this has been accompanied by extraordinary measures and the deprivation of freedom through a declaration of a state of emergency in both conflicts. With the precedents in Honduras and Paraguay, we fear that we will find ourselves before a dynamic increase in the suspension of the rights and freedom of the population in various countries in Latin America, especially linked to the defense of the interests of different multinationals and their extractive businesses. For these reasons:


  • We express our deepest indignation to the government of Peru; we implore you to put an immediate end to the repressive increase and to assume your historical responsibility to be the guardian of the Human Rights of the Peruvian population.
  • We appeal to social organizations, NGOS for international cooperation, human rights entities, public institutions and others, to actively engage in defending the rights and freedom to impede an authoritarian change in Peru, and to defend a resolution of the conflicts in accordance with the right to have free access to all information about the affected communities and towns.
  • We request a clarification of all the facts which have led to these serious events and which have brought about the grief in these areas.
  • We demand the multinational company of Newmont, which leads the Conga project, to issue a statement on the violent and illegal actions of the Peruvian government.


As civil society organizations we will keep a watchful eye on the development of the happenings in Peru, with widespread dissemination of information related to it and alerting international entities on the repressive politics of the Peruvian government that violate and infringe the agreement signed by both parties regarding the rights of the towns.


We will continue to lend our support and solidarity in accompanying the affected areas, to the social and communal organizations, as well as their local authorities and especially to the families of the victims.


For more information