Dear friends and supporters,
In 2018, Crude Accountability celebrated our 15-year anniversary. Despite huge challenges, yet gratified by many successes, reaching this milestone would not have been possible without the support network of like-minded partners and individuals like you. Solidarity has been the key to our work, and this year is no exception.
Children from Berezovka, Kazakhstan, who have been suffering severe health problems since 2014, following a release of toxic fumes from the Karachaganak Oil and Gas Condensate Field, have finally obtained answers to what caused their illnesses and are on the road to recovery.
After comprehensive examinations in an independent clinic in Moscow, two young girls from Berezovka – Alina and Albina — were diagnosed with toxic encephalopathy, a brain disease caused by chemical poisoning. While we are saddened by their diagnosis, we are relieved that the girls are now receiving proper medications– all possible through your generosity.
This year we stepped into a new area of work, arts in advocacy. We partnered with Busboys and Poets in D.C., with Dash Arts in London, and PEN Club in Cambridge, UK, to present Parting Song – a collection of beautiful poetry written in the most dramatic circumstances. Batyr Berdyev, former Minister of Foreign Affairs in Turkmenistan, political prisoner, and one of 121 names on the list of the disappeared in Turkmen prisons, wrote poems addressed to his family early in his prison term. The poems are a testament to the refusal of the human spirit to be silent, and are also an important historic document smuggled out of one of the most repressive regimes in the world. They truly put a human face behind the name Turkmenistan, and highlight the urgency of the crisis of enforced disappearances.
On December 28, 2017, our friend Andrey Rudomakha, an environmental and human rights defender from Russia, the leader of Environmental Watch on the North Caucasus, was brutally attacked, robbed, and beaten as he returned from an environmental inspection. With a broken nose, a fractured skull and suffering from a concussion, Andrey spent weeks in recovery. Yet we are here for each other in the face of tragedy and adversity.
Once again, global civil society came together to condemn the attack on Rudomakha, and demanded a swift and thorough investigation in order to bring the perpetrators to justice. Messages of support for Andrey came from all over the world and put additional pressure on Russian authorities to ensure his security. And, while his attackers have still not been brought to justice, Andrey and EWNC know that the world stands with them.
Working everyday with communities impacted by gross violations of human rights in in the Caspian and the Black Sea regions, we simply cannot ignore the deteriorating human rights situation in our own backyard, here in the United States. Many US-based grassroots environmental campaigns are facing the same challenges as their fellow activists and defenders in the former Soviet space. That is why we have partnered with several US-based groups and activists to exchange expertise and build stronger ties across borders. While we are committed to our focus on the Caspian and the Black Sea regions, keep an eye on the US-based programs that we are planning to roll out next year!
Solidarity with the global civil society movement is a matter of survival for many of our partners. Individual donors like you make a real impact on the lives of children, villagers, and activists throughout the region. Thank you.
We ask you to donate generously at https://crudeaccountability.org/support-crude/ or by writing a check to Crude Accountability, P.O. Box 2345, Alexandria, VA 22301.
With best wishes for Happy Holidays,
Kate Watters Leanne Grossman
Executive Director Chair, Board of Directors
Crude Accountability Crude Accountability