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Environmental Watch on North Caucasus

Environmental Watch on North Caucasus (EWNC) is a Russia-based non-profit organization that works to protect the environment of the Caucasus region since 1997. EWNC campaigns to preserve wildlife and has conducted investigations into human rights violations that have ocurred as a result of illegal land grabbing by local officials. EWNC works in Krasnodar, Rostov, and Stavropol regions, and the republics of Adygea, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachayevo-Cherkessia, and Dagestan.

They are currently focused on preventing environmentally dangerous projects that lead to destruction of wild nature and environmental degradation, decreasing environmental impact of development, creating a strong grassroots environmental movement in the Caucasus region and raising public awareness of environmental issues.

Campaigns include efforts to stop planned construction in the Utrish forest on the Black Sea coast of the Krasnodar region and create a federal nature reserve that would protect its unique ecosystems, monitor construction for the 2014 Olympic Games and push for adequate compensatory measures for its colossal environmental damage in the Sochi area and to prevent realization of a government $15 billion plan to build five ski resorts in the North Caucasus region, which would irreversibly damage four national parks, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

HRDs are often subjected to acts of harassment, surveillance, physical attacks, threat, raids and searches on their offices and homes, slander and smear campaigns, judicial harassment, arbitrary detention, and ill-treatment, as well as violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly. There have also been cases where HRDs have been murdered as a result of their work.