Read daily news summary for February 3 here.
Azerbaijani forces grossly violate water rights of residents of Armenia’s Meghri – Ombudsman
‘The residents of Meghri community have sounded alarms according to which soldiers of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces had changed the flow of water from a tributary of ‘Meghri’ river towards Nakhijevan,’ Armenia’s Human Rights Defender (Ombudsman) Arman Tatoyan said on Thursday.
Armenian southern Meghri is in the Syunik province where demarcations and delimitations of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border have been accompanied by serious human rights violations by Azerbaijani forces alarmed by the Ombudsman earlier.
As the Ombudsman explained, the change of water flow has created serious problems with the accessibility of drinking and irrigation water in the cities of Meghri and Agarak, as well as Nrnadzor, Shvanidzor, and Alvank villages of Syunik Province where the population is the majority.
The residents and the head of the Meghri community have informed the Human Rights Defender that Azerbaijani soldiers are creating barriers through special engineering machinery every month and changing the flow of the tributary towards Nakhchivan.
‘With these acts, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, and the authorities, are grossly violating the right of the residents of the Meghri community of Armenia to water that is guaranteed by absolute international bans. The right to water is internationally guaranteed and includes the human right to have sufficient and continuing drinking water and water for domestic purposes (irrigation, hygiene, etc.),’ the Ombudsman said.
In Ombudsman’s words, analyses and evaluation of the ongoing violations by the Azerbaijani forces are summing up and will be sent to specialized international organisations and competent Armenian authorities.
Government to take important decisions on Amulsar gold mine
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has said the country should take measures to make investment programs in the mining sector more manageable and acceptable’ for the society, PanArmenia.net reports.
Addressing a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, Pashinyan expressed hope that the government will manage to make important decisions, including on the Amulsar gold mine.
This topic should be discussed, taking into account the balanced interests of Armenia. We must find solutions,’ the Prime Minister said. ‘Whether we like it or not, the mining industry plays a very important role for the Armenian economy, including in the security context.’
As PanArmenian.net reports, located in the southern Armenian province of Vayots Dzor, the Amulsar gold mine, owned by Jersey-incorporated Lydian International, has been in development for over a decade. In 2013, UK ambassador Katherine Leach called it ‘potentially the largest British investment in Armenia’. Lydian states it will provide $488 million to the Armenian state budget in tax and royalty contributions through the ten-year operation of the mine, as well as provide 770 jobs.
Over time, the mine has become the site of a major stand-off between the Armenian government, environment activists, protesters, and the mining company.
Other news from Armenia
- The delegation led by Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan has arrived in Kazakhstan to participate in the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council session on February 5.
The correspondent of Armenpress. reports from Almaty that Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigoryan, Deputy Foreign Minister Armen Gevondyan, Deputy Minister of Economy Varos Simonyan, SRC Deputy Chairman Ashot Muradyan, and others are included in the Armenian delegation. Starting from January 1, 2021, Kazakhstan assumed the chairmanship over the EAEU.
- On the initiative of the Russian side, a meeting of the chairman of the former ruling Republican Party of Armenia and third President Serzh Sargsyan with Russian ambassador Sergey Kopirkin took place on Wednesday, RPA vice-chairman Armen Ashotyan RPA vice-chairman Armen Ashotyan informed, as News.am reports.
‘A wide range of issues related to the aftermath of the Nagorno-Karabakh war were discussed during the meeting,’ Ashotyan reported.
‘In the context of the discussion of the current situation, the importance of making effective efforts for the return of prisoners of war and other detainees in Azerbaijan to Armenia, the search for the bodies of fallen servicemen was stressed,’ the statement reads.
According to the statement, at the request of the Ambassador, President Sargsyan touched upon the domestic political situation [in Armenia], as well as issues related to the new regional geopolitical realities.
- The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) reported on February 4 that it has received Armenia’s Inter-State complaint against Azerbaijan regarding the latter’s convention violations committed during and after the 2020 Artsakh War, Armenpress.am reports. The court also said that it received numerous requests under Rule 39 concerning captives and POWs lodged by Armenia or by relatives of the captives. The requests received so far concern 228 Armenians, it said.
Armenia’s complaint concerns Azerbaijan’s violations of the right to life, the prohibition of torture and inhuman treatment, the right to liberty, the right to property, the right to personal and family life, the right to education, as well as a number of other Convention rights of the population of Artsakh and Armenia.
Among other things, the Government of Armenia raised the issues pertaining to the protection of the rights of prisoners of war; individual civilian captives; displaced people; deceased and wounded persons and their relatives; persons who lost their property; local and international reporters, have been raised in the Application. A large amount of evidence has been submitted along with the Application.