Human rights defenders presented a report on the catastrophic environmental situation in the ATO zone

On June 7, at the Glavkom press center, a presentation of the report devoted to the complex analysis of the environment under the conditions of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.

The researchers in this filed were representatives and experts of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, supported by Global Affairs Canada and the Government of Canada. They focused on assessing not only the damage but also the problems on bringing to justice those responsible for environmental damage caused by the war.

The day before yesterday, on June 5, the international community celebrated the International Environment Day, which is one of the main ways to draw global attention to environmental issues and stimulate political interest and action. The environmental protection issues were of particular relevance in connection with armed conflicts since the damage caused by them affects ecosystems and natural resources over a long period of time.

The report is available at the link.

In full, this problem also applies to the situation in Donbas. The long period of human use of natural resources of Donetsk and Luhansk, and negative impact directly on all natural objects have led to significant environmental degradation. Even before the outbreak of hostilities experts described the environmental situation in eastern Ukraine as a crisis. The armed conflict and associated military activity of agents and the local population have led to a significant number of environmental and natural resource use problems. In particular, the known facts of deforestation in the gray zone; use of reserves and natural landmarks in the ATO zone and the surrounding area for military purposes; during the mining of areas (even protected) only in some case maps were created and more. Unfortunately, most of the environmental consequences of war are ignored by modern laws.

Oleksii Boda, Alla Blaha, Maryna Medviedieva and Ihor Zavorotniuk
Oleksii Boda, Alla Blaha, Maryna Medviedieva and Ihor Zavorotniuk

Authors and experts, who worked on this report looked for answers to these and other questions.

Speakers at the press conference were Oleksii Bida, coordinator of the Center for Documentation of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Maryna Medviedieva, Doctor of Law, Professor of International Law at the Institute of International Relations of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ihor Zavorotniuk, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Senior Researcher of the National Natural Research Museum, and Alla Blaha, Doctor of Law, analyst of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union.

In their speeches, they drew attention to the international legal obligations of states to protect the environment during armed conflicts, especially bringing to justice those responsible for environmental damage caused by the war and the state, and problems of environmental protection in eastern Ukraine, which were found during the study of open sources and monitoring visit.

The report’s authors hope that a comprehensive analysis of issues and recommendations for their solution will be useful for authorities to elaborate strategic documents and programs on human rights and the environment in the context of ATO.


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