Azerbaijani NGOs continue protests in Lachin-Khankendi Road
Azerbaijani eco-activists and NGO representatives continue protest action on the Lachin road in protest against the illegal exploitation of mineral deposits in the areas under the temporary control of Russian peacekeepers, especially the Kizybulag gold and Demirli copper-molybdenum deposits. Lachin – Khankendi road is not blocked by civil protesters, and Armenian population can use the road for humanitarian purposes, except trucks carrying mineral deposits all civilian transport vehicles can move freely.
Azerbaijani NGOs are seriously concerned about the deterioration of the environmental situation in the Karabakh and Eastern Zangazur economic regions territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan, where the peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation temporarily deployed.
By deteriorating the ecological situation, the illegal exploitation of mineral deposits has a negative impact on the civilian population, the environment, biodiversity, underground and surface water resources, as well as the ecological environment in other areas of Azerbaijan.
The project documentation for the works carried out in the areas controlled by the peacekeeping forces has not been submitted to the state environmental expertise. It is impossible to determine the compliance of these activities with environmental standards and their potential impact on the environmental situation in those areas, as required by the laws of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On Environmental Protection“ and other legislative acts as well as by the UN Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention).
Recently, the Human Rights Commisisoner of Azerbaijan Republic, Ombudsperson Sabina Aliyeva issued statement on the protests of CSOs and supported all those who participate at the protest action, by mentioning that, civil society members, NGOs working for the protection of environmental rights, and social activists using their rights, proclaimed by the existing international human rights documents, and national legislation, especially the rights to live in a healthy environment, right to freedom of assembly, right to freedom of movement, freedom of speech and expression express their just concerns about circumstances that cause environmental consequences that directly affect the violation of rights.
Ombudsperson also strongly condemned the attempts of the Russian peacekeeping contingent, which is temporarily deployed in the areas of Azerbaijan, to hinder the peaceful protest of civil society members and activists, implemented in compliance with international and national legislation, and called on them to fulfill the requirements stated in the tripartite Deal signed on 10 November 2022 by the leaders of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Russia, as well as to act within their mandate.
Taking into consideration all aboved mentioned issues, I think for a preliminary assessment of the level of fulfillment of obligations arising from international and national legal requirements, it is necessary to ensure regular monitoring of ongoing or planned projects in the areas where the peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation temporarily deployed.
I call all international environmental related and human rights protection organization, to support our legitimate demands raised at this protest action, which are:
– Armenia must stop Eco-Terror against Azerbaijan and stop using the Lachin road for military purposes and transport of anti-personnel mines, transport of illegal minerals.
– The peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation temporarily deployed in Karabakh area of Azerbaijan, should not hinder the peaceful protest of civil society and create necessary conditions for CSOs to conduct montoring to determine the compliance of the activities with environmental standards and their potential impact on the environmental situation.
Ramil Iskandarli – Chairman of the Legal Analysis and Research Public Union