Armenia grossly violates UN Convention on Biological Diversity by committing ecological terror in Karabakh (OPINION)
By Yegana Hajiyeva
At the beginning of the 21st century, when serious global efforts are being made to tackle climate change and to ensure the preservation and sustainability of biodiversity, Armenia is engaged in systematically damaging ecology and biodiversity.
Waste and incinerated chemicals thrown into the territory of Karabakh and surrounding districts as a result of the uncontrolled activities of Armenia during the years of occupation, as well as contaminated rivers passing through this territory, inflicted heavy damage on Azerbaijan’s flora and fauna.
Such a brutal attitude towards nature during the years of occupation and the following two years resulted in the loss of biodiversity in this territory.
Before the occupation, Karabakh and surrounding districts possessed rich biodiversity, and its flora and fauna were well-known for their rare plants and animals. As many as 18 thousand species of fauna, 97 species of mammals, 357 species of birds, about 100 species of fish, 67 species and subspecies of amphibians and reptiles, and about 15 thousand species of insects lived in this territory.
As a result of such cruel and destructive activities, some alien species of plants and animals have been wiped off the face of the earth. A unique species called “Karabakh gazelle”, to whose beauty and delicacy poems were dedicated, went extinct because of the environmental crimes systematically committed by the Armenian state in the forests of Lachin and Kalbajar.
Armenia’s eco-terror policy constitutes a gross violation of the requirements of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which the country itself signed, and which is strongly recommended by the UN General Assembly to the member states. Armenia also keeps breaching the principle of respect for international law providing protection for the environment in times of armed conflict, which is envisaged in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.
The fact that for almost 30 years, the Gajaran copper-molybdenum plant and Gafan copper ore in Armenia have been discharging excessive heavy metals into Okhchuchay, the second largest river of the South Caucasus, which flows into the Araz River, destroyed not only the river fauna but also the surrounding ecosystem. The contaminated Okhchuchay River also poses a serious risk to human health.
If the abovementioned activities were carried out in uncontrolled territories for 30 years, today illegal Armenian armed groups on the territory of Azerbaijan continue to commit environmental crimes in front of our eyes and the eyes of the world.
Global environmental and climate movements and well-known non-governmental organizations keep turning a blind eye to the enmity against humanity and nature and barbaric acts by illegal Armenian settlers in Azerbaijan’s Lachin district, which are reflected in the photos and videos shown on social networks and TV channels.
Environmental protection, and efficient use of resources, especially the protection of unique species, is considered to be an issue of global significance.
The silence of international NGOs and institutions, which declare the protection of these values as their priority, is regrettable.
A double-standard approach to this issue is most likely to result in the destruction and extinction of unique species of flora and fauna in Karabakh, as it occurred in many parts of the world.
Yegana Hajiyeva, Chairperson of the Institute of Young Democrats, political scientist