The Committee on Compliance with the Aarhus Convention  called on signatory states to help protect Ukrainian environmental activists. The call applies to people living or working in territories newly occupied by the Russian army, who now face many threats and, in many cases, will have to flee the country.
“As you are aware, Ukraine is currently under heavy attack. The Compliance Committee has grave concerns that persons who are known environmental defenders in Ukraine, and their families, will be in imminent danger in the potential occupied territory. In particular, the Compliance Committee requests all Parties, and not only those Parties bordering Ukraine, to facilitate safe passage and provide immediate sanctuary to Ukrainian environmental defenders and their families,” wrote Aine Ryall, Chair of the Compliance Committee under the Aarhus Convention, in her letter.
The chair addressed her letter to the foreign ministers of the countries that have ratified the Aarhus Convention - the European Union, the Western Balkans, and the former Soviet Union. The Convention’s purpose is to guarantee the right of citizens of these countries to information and participation in environmental decision-making. The signatory states have also committed to protecting environmentalists from persecution.
You can read the full text of the letter here.
 The Aarhus Convention was signed on 25 June 1988 as a result of the Fourth Ministerial Conference of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe “Environment for Europe” in Aarhus, Denmark, and to date has been ratified by 47 countries from the Europe and Central Asia region. The Convention obliges the signatories to make information on the state of the environment and its impact on the population’s health actively and fully available to citizens. States must also ensure that everyone can participate equally in decision-making on projects that significantly impact the environment and be involved in developing plans and policies. Finally, it gives citizens the right to judicial protection when authorities violate the Convention’s standards. The Aarhus Convention is considered the most crucial document of its time. It combines environmental rights with civil rights and is an instrument for deepening democracy.