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You're reading: Committees vs. compliance

The Environmental Ministry’s spokesperson did just
that when confronted in Geneva in early September with a direct question about
the murder of civic activist Volodymyr Honcharenko and investigation into the
claim he made at a press conference four days earlier about chemically contaminated
scrap metal in Dnipropetrovsk.  It certainly looks bad to inform the
working group monitoring compliance with the Aarhus Convention that the
authorities are continuing to ignore their obligations under the convention and
muffle the issue.  The Aarhus Convention people were assured that a
committee had been set up and that the results of tests were expected on Sept. 10.

This was news to the Ukrainian environmental and human
rights organizations who have been calling for a proper investigation since Honcharenko’s
murder, as well as his organization which had warned the authorities and been
ignored for much longer.

This is not the first such supposed flurry of
activity, since the local authorities also came up with an investigatory
committee which supposedly carried out tests and conclusively rejected all Honcharenko’s
allegations. Nobody knows what samples were tested and the air tests spoken of
were by definition inappropriate given the specific chemical involved, 

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