Russian NGOs Handed Over 8000-names Petition against Siberian Hydropower Station

Feature story - 16 February, 2009
More than 8000 signatures opposing the plans to build “Evenki Hydro Power Station” (ЭГЭС) has been transferred to Russia's Prime-Minister Vladimir Putin.

Hydro Power Station

The petition requests a removal of the construction project from the «General plan of development of electric power industry of Russia till 2020». The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Greenpeace Russia, Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East (АКМНССиДВ) and other NGOs within the field of environment and human rights urges the government to reconsider this general plan.

- Taking into account the social and ecological damage as well as the financial resources necessary for its realization, this project can basically not be effective, proclaims a joint letter signed by the participating NGOs.

"Evenki Hydro Power Station" involves relocation of indigenous people's villages and about 1 million ha of unique deciduous forests will be flooded if the dam construction becomes reality. According to researches of the Russian Academy of Sciences, this kind of forests also plays the major role in the maintenance of carbon balance possessing a buffering function that limits the global warming. Furthermore, construction of enormous complexes of hydro power in fragile northern ecosystems is always unpredictable and may cause irreversible changes of all components in the surrounding eco-system of the building zone and the water basin.

Additionally, at least one of the three areas of nuclear explosions that were done at the Lower Tunguska in the 70's will be flooded if the construction takes place. The project of "Evenki Hydro Power Station" was developed in 80's but was rejected in the late 80's by the Gorbachev's government after a serious environmental and economic assessment, executed in a time of growing ecological awareness in Russia.

- The revival of this project can only be understood as a return to the darkest ages of authoritarian 'command-administrative-system' in the former Soviet Union, says Michail Kreyndlin, Head of the program for protected natural areas of Greenpeace Russia.

The fourth session of United Nations Council of Human Rights takes place in Geneva 2-13th February 2009. 4th February the Minister of Justice, Alexander Konovalov, provided the session with Russia's «Universal Periodic Review» (self-examination) on human rights in Russia. Parallel with the Russian contribution Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East handed in an independent report. On the basis of this parallel information from by NGOs, the High Commissioner of Human Rights of the United Nations Navanethem Pillej urged Russia to ratify the ILO Convention 169 (Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries), implement the convention into Russian legislation and perform better in the field of eliminating racial discrimination. One of the recommendations further advises the Russian government not to support the construction of ЭГЭС.

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