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23 Jun 2020


Bosnia & Herzegovina: Environmental activists continue protesting hydroelectric power plants, despite measures to weaken civic society organizing

'Decree prohibits the spread of fake news about Covid-19, raising concerns of media censorship', June 19, 2020

[As] a response to the COVID-19 crisis, the government drafted a Law on Mitigation of Economic Consequences, which did not include CSOs (civil society organisations) as beneficiaries of the economic assistance measures. Some state that this adds to the already adverse effects of the pandemic on the civil society sector as many associations have been forced to suspend their activities... Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus in the country was a ban on public gatherings. However, a few protests took place during the reporting period... Despite these measures, the local population in Foča blocked the construction of small hydroelectric power plants Bjelava and Mala Bjelava. More than twenty locals, also joined by representatives of the Coalition for the Protection of Rivers, gathered at the blockade to prevent workers from approaching their machines and continuing with the illegal works. The construction of these power plants began in a context where the movement of citizens is limited, public gatherings are prohibited and inspection and supervision is difficult. As a result, this led to a revolt of the local population, which opposes the construction on the grounds that it will pose ecological damage to their locality...