Armenia Flagrantly Violates UN Convention on Biological Diversity by Committing Ecological Terror in Karabakh (OPINION)
By Yegana Hajiyeva
At the start of the 21st century, amid serious global efforts to combat climate change and ensure the preservation and sustainability of biodiversity, Armenia is committed to systematically damaging ecology and biodiversity.
Garbage and incinerated chemicals dumped on the territory of Karabakh and surrounding districts due to the uncontrolled activities of Armenia during the years of occupation, as well as the contaminated rivers flowing through this territory, have caused heavy damage to the flora and wildlife of Azerbaijan.
Such a brutal attitude towards nature during the years of occupation and the following two years led to the loss of biodiversity in this territory.
Before the occupation, Karabakh and surrounding districts had rich biodiversity, and its flora and fauna were well known for their rare plants and animals. Up to 18,000 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 15,000 species of insects lived in this territory .
As a result of these 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, became extinct due to the environmental crimes systematically committed by the Armenian state in the forests of Lachin and Kalbajar.
Armenia’s eco-terrorism policy is a flagrant violation of the requirements of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which the country itself has signed, and which is strongly recommended by the United Nations General Assembly to Member States. Armenia also continues to violate the principle of respect for international law ensuring the protection of the environment in times of armed conflict, which is envisaged in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.
The fact that for nearly 30 years the Gajaran copper-molybdenum plant and the Gafan copper ore in Armenia have been releasing excessive amounts of heavy metals into Okhchuchay, the second largest river in the South Caucasus, which empties in 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 aforementioned activities have been carried out in uncontrolled territories for 30 years, today illegal Armenian armed groups in the territory of Azerbaijan continue to commit environmental crimes before our eyes and the eyes of the world.
Global environmental and climate movements and well-known non-governmental organizations continue to turn a blind eye to the enmity against humanity and nature and the barbaric acts of illegal Armenian settlers in the Lachin district of Azerbaijan, which are reflected in the photos and videos posted on social networks and TV channels.
The protection of the environment and the efficient use of resources, especially the protection of unique species, is considered a matter of global importance.
The silence of NGOs and international institutions, which declare the protection of these values as their priority, is regrettable.
A double standard approach to this issue will most likely lead to the destruction and extinction of unique species of flora and fauna in Karabakh, as has happened in many parts of the world.
Yegana Hajiyeva, president of the Institute of Young Democrats, political scientist