Between January and March, the EU-funded project “Shields for Human Rights Defenders – Supporting Human Rights Defenders in the Republic of Moldova”, implemented by EcoContact Association, organised a series of trainings dedicated to environmental human rights defenders for beneficiaries in Hincesti (3 and 25 February) and Balti (16 March).

During the trainings, which were held in a hybrid format, in addition to explaining the theoretical aspects of HR for a healthy environment, the trainers also explained how the legal mechanisms in the Republic of Moldova can be applied to protect these specific sets of rights and how to recover the damage caused by third parties, as appropriate. At the same time, the participants were introduced to the national environmental authorities and their role in environmental protection by offering case studies to outline their importance in ensuring a safe environment.

The work of human rights defenders (HRDs) can sometimes be dangerous, so the training also focused on the conduct of HRDs in their activities to create a safe and secure environment for both themselves and those surrounding them. The training sought to identify those HRDs in environmental protection who already have experience applying national law for further exchanges of experience with them.

Increased interest from the participants was manifested regarding local environmental issues, such as the burning of leaves, dumping of waste in unauthorized areas, illegal grazing, medium and high-intensity economic activities near localities, and other matters related to violations of legal norms that affect the environment and human health. In addition, the participants discussed the environmental issues in their localities and were informed that the Association can offer them support or consultations if they need it.

The assistance is provided in the framework of the project „Shield for Human Rights Defenders – Support to Human Rights Defenders in the Republic of Moldova” funded by the European Union and co-funded by Sweden, implemented by the Legal Resource Centre of Moldova in partnership with EcoContact Association. The recommendations given by the participants have been summarized and included in the „Guide for HRDs in the field of the environment,” which will be published in the next quarter.