August 17, 2012
Ukraine – Volodymyr Goncharenko, the 57 year old Chairman of the Social Movement of Ukraine For the Rights of Citizens & Environmental Security, was brutally beaten to death. The horrific news came just days after he conducted a press conference to warn citizens that 180 tons of dangerous chemical and radioactive industrial waste had arrived at the city of Kryvyi Rih(Dnipropetrovsk area of Ukraine), which was likely to be “recycled” into the consumer product stream.
EJOLT (Environmental Justice Organizations, Liabilities and Trade) reports: “According to Goncharenko, during the past several years, scavengers have removed from the Chernobyl exclusion zone 6 million metric tons of scrap metal that was subsequently smelted at metallurgical combines and reprocessed into new metal. While in theory each metallurgical combine should be equipped with radiation-monitoring equipment to check all incoming scrap, financial shortfalls have meant this was rarely the case. In 2007 Ukraine ranked eighth in global steel production and steel is Ukraine’s leading export. One can only guess how much radioactive scrap metal has ended up in exported steel.”
Pavlo Khazan of the Ukrainian Green Party stated: “We collaborated with Volodymyr for 15 years in professional and public areas. The Ukrainian Green Party has no doubt that the murder was linked to his professional activities.” Although the Ukrainian police have opened an investigation into Goncharenko’s murder, Khazan feels that to deliver justice in this case, international attention and pressure will be needed.
Please contact the Embassy of Ukraine, urging a thorough investigation of Goncharenko’s murder, as well as for an end to the “recycling” of radioactive metals and other materials into the consumer product stream. In the U.S., the Embassy of Ukraine can be written at 3350 M Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007, faxed at (202) 333-0817, or phoned at (202) 349-2920. Embassies and Consulates of Ukraine elsewhere in the U.S., or in other countries, can also be contacted. Thanks to beyondnuclear.org for the information.