APADOR-CH also carries out fact finding visits where there are indications of gross human rights violations.
APADOR-CH experts document such cases, seeking to establish the facts of the case. If a human rights violation is confirmed, APADOR-CH offers legal assistance to the victims and takes other measures as deemed necessary, depending on the situation.
One such example was a report APADOR-CH made on Pungesti. In a village in the North-East of Romania, locals opposed a fracking project by Chevron and begin protesting (mostly peacefully) against it. In one protest, however, some of the protestors tore down part of the wall surrounding the fracking site, to which the law enforcement agents reacted disproportionately. Soon after, the zone was declared a special security zone. It is not entirely clear what a special security zone is and what obligations it imposes but there have been numerous reports that based on this designation, law enforcement officials are harassing locals and curtailing many of their rights.
To investigate the situation a team of 3 APADOR-CH experts went to the area to talk to locals and to officials, and see first-hand what the situation is. Based on the findings of this visit APADOR-CH wrote a report, outlining the main observations made (link). Also, in order to provide a better picture of the situation on the ground, our PR expert made a short video during this visit (link). These were both distributed widely and also sent to the responsible public officials.
As a result of this visit APADOR decided to dig further into the matter and find more information on the exact legal basis by which law enforcement officials justify their abuses and try to see who issued the order making the area a special security zone, under what conditions and what are the legal implications of this decision. To do so, it wrote a series of FOI requests to various public officials. So far we have not obtained a copy of the order in question, and we have just received a series of answers claiming that no basic rights are being infringed (link) and that in fact locals are granted additional rights in terms of security provide by law enforcement agents present on the ground (link).