Ecocide Alert in Nagorno–Karabakh region amidst war between Armenia and Azerbaijan
As you may be aware, on September 27th, 2020, full-blown war exploded between Armenia & Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) with four ceasefire regimes negotiated under the umbrella of Minsk OSCE Group, violated during October 2020.
During this large-scale war, the most intensive since the 1994 ceasefire agreement in the Southern Caucasus region, a number of war crimes were mounted & documented, among them beheadings of Armenian soldiers, killing of civilians in a city square wrapped in Armenian flags, deliberate attacks on civilian infrastructures - residential buildings, churches, food markets, schools and maternity hospitals.
On October 30, 2020, the environmental community of Armenia, including local, regional & international environmental organizations, conservation pioneers, scientists, and non-governmental organizations, was shocked to witness another disastrous war crime against natural ecosystems & crucial livelihoods of Artsakh.
As per credible reports & collected data, comprised by Human’s Right Defender of Armenia, Azerbaijani military forces have used white phosphorus munitions containing elements of chemical weapons in the primary forests of Artsakh, which is a gross violation of International Humanitarian Law, principles of Customary Law, Geneva Convention, Chemical Weapons Convention, Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Technique, as well as the provisions of the relevant UN conventions and documents. As video evidence shows, these weapons are being used in an attempt to burn down forests where-civilians are taking shelter from Azerbaijan’s attacks.
The usage of white phosphorus munitions by Azerbaijani forces in those forests will not only destroy valuable ecosystems & habitats and put threatened species at the risk of extinction but will contaminate rivers & underground waters for years, thus turning into a major threat of regional scale for all the people and wildlife living in the region.
We are therefore calling out to the global conservation community for support to help stop the usage of white phosphorus munitions before they cause an environmental disaster and regional ecocide.
The usage of white phosphorus munitions contradicts all the provisions of all environmental conventions including the Bern Convention, Nagoya protocol to Helsinki & Rotterdam conventions, verified by the Governments of both Armenia & Azerbaijan.
Although 98% of the global population lives under the protection of the Chemical Weapons Convention, this is, as we understand, unfortunately not applicable towards Armenia & ethnic Armenians living in Artsakh.
Ongoing developments continue to threaten any form of life in the region and thus we’re addressing you, as a leading environmental organization in the field, to:
● Write to appropriate contacts & conservation partners in your network to express your concern of the possible environmental destruction in Artsakh and the region
● Raise awareness within your networks/social channels and:
● Condemn the actions of any military force that uses white phosphorus munitions in forests & habitats destroying crucial ecosystems and therefore forbidden under international law.
● Call for responsibility to protect valuable ecosystems, species populations & genetic resources from ecocide in Artsakh.
● Call for moral responsibility in a time of war and exclude war crimes both against humans and nature.
Please kindly inform us, the undersigned, about actions undertaken by your organization advocating for sustainable development & environmental resilience, and further steps aimed at eliminating the risk of the ecocide in the Artsakh region, which is a crucial habitat to threatened species & populations not recognizing political borders and/or regional disputes.
Links to videos։
1. Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife & Cultural Assets (FPWC), [email protected]
2. Armenian Society of Biologists NGO, [email protected]
3. Eco Waste Environmental NGO, [email protected]
4. Yerevan Aarhus Center, [email protected]
5. Armenia Tree Project, [email protected]
6. Sunchild NGO, [email protected]
7. Strategic Development Agency, [email protected]
8. Solution Hub NGO, [email protected]
9. Green Age NGO, [email protected]
10. American University of Armenia/Harutyun Alpetyan, Waste Governance Expert, [email protected]
11. Environmental Public Society, [email protected]
12. BlEJAN, environmental, social, business support NGO, [email protected]
13. Araves Bird conservation NGO, [email protected]
14. Armenian Environmental Front, [email protected]
15. BEM Youth progressive Action Center, [email protected]
16. Freedom of Information Center of Armenia, [email protected]
17. Institute of Botany after A.Takhtajyan NAS RA, [email protected]
18. World Independent Youth Union, [email protected]
19. Doctor Cinema Youth NGO, [email protected]
20. Amities Luxembourg - Armenie a.s.b.l, [email protected]
21. Formation et Sensibilisation de Luxembourg, [email protected]
22. Regional Development and Research Center NGO, [email protected]
23. "Econews.am" environmental informative website, [email protected]
24. Public Awareness and Monitoring Centre' NGO, [email protected]
25. Dingo Team NGO, [email protected]
26. SALU (Sensibilité et Attention Luxembourg), [email protected]
27. Caucasus Wildlife Tours, [email protected]
28. Armenian Environmental Network, [email protected]
29. Lab Inclusion (France) [email protected]
30. Green Armenia Environmental Education NGO, [email protected]
31. White Squad Environmental NGO, [email protected]
32. "Armenian Botanical Society" NGO, [email protected]
33. SwIdeas AB (Sweden), [email protected]
34. 500 km in Armenia", [email protected]
35. Sunchild Eco - tours, [email protected]
36. BLESK LLC env. assessment org./Armenian Branch, [email protected]
37. "Dalma-Sona" Foundation, [email protected]
38. University of Traditional Medicine, Armenia, [email protected]
39. Armenian Women for Health & Healthy Environment NGO, [email protected]
40. One Health Coalition, [email protected]
41. "EcoLur" Informational NGO, [email protected]
42. Clean Goris NGO, [email protected]
43. Country Water Partnership NGO, [email protected]
44. Sustainable Water Environment NGO, [email protected]
45. "Centre for Community Mobilization and Support" NGO, [email protected]
46. Green Lane NGO, [email protected]
47. "Consumers' Consulting Center" NGO, [email protected]
48. My Forest Armenia NGO, [email protected]
49. "Support of Botanical Garden" Charity Foundation, [email protected]
50. Armenian Forests Environmental NGO, [email protected]
51. Transparency International Anticorruption Center, [email protected]