Curonian Spit National Park

On February 22-24th 2021, at the 9th International NGO Forum on World Heritage at Risk held online by World Heritage Watch, Civil Society Organizations were informed of unprecedented pressure on the activists of the non-governmental organization Ecodefense! by the Russian State Party responsible for management and protection of the Curonian Spit National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site No. 994.

After Alexandra Koroleva, the author of a report documenting serious mismanagement of the Curonian Spit National Park, had presented her report to UNESCO, UNESCO requested the Russian Federation for a response. As a consequence, the director of the National Park filed a court case against Alexandra for “defamation of the Russian Federation”, which can be punished with 2 years in prison. Alexandra already lives in German exile but the Russian government is still trying to destroy her.

In response, World Heritage Watch has adopted a resolution and sent a letter to UNESCO and the member states of the World Heritage Committee urging them to uphold the human rights of civil society for free expression, and to submit reports to the World Heritage Centre.