Human Rights Action (HRA) strongly condemns arson of a fishing house of the fish-guardian and environmental activist Ratko Pajović from NGO Carp security, and demands urgent reaction of the authorities, identification, prosecution and appropriate punishment of all persons involved.
This is not the first attack on Mr. Pajović, who had his car and boat demolished earlier. Authorities have not yet identified persons who committed those past incidents.
HRA emphasizes that the state is also under international commitment to protect Mr. Pajović as a defender of human right to a healthy environment. He has the right to a special protection from the state in relation to the attacks tied to his activism.
Actions of environmental activists in Montenegro are particularly important because authorities do not show sufficient political will to protect the most valuable natural resources, such as river Tara, Ulcinj Saltworks and Skadar lake (European Commission, 2019 Report on Montenegro, page 96).
UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Environment has recently warned that the threats facing environmental activists are perilous and increasing, and that none is more urgent than the need to protect activists, because they work, often at great personal risk, to protect their natural environment from unsustainable exploitation, and defend the human rights of themselves and their communities.
Montenegro declared itself an ecological state in 1991, when it had committed to adopt and apply the highest norms and standards from the field of environment protection and preservation of nature.
The 2007 Constitution also marks Montenegro as ecological state based on the rule of law and prescribes that ,,everyone shall have the right to a healthy environment; to receive timely and full information about the status of the environment, to influence the decision-making regarding the issues of importance for the environment, and to legal protection of these rights; as well as that everyone, the state in particular, shall be bound to preserve and improve the environment.”