The Save Teghout Civic Initiative has sent an urgent appeal to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, to stop illegal mining in Teghut, which violates human rights, national legislation of Armenia and international conventions to which Armenia is a signatory.
The appeal, signed by 27 Armenian and international NGOs and one international specialist on human rights, has also been forwarded to 8 other responsible U.N. offices.
The conclusions noted in the appeal are:
- Mining activity in Teghut has been initiated by ACP and approved by the Armenian Government with massive infringements of national laws and international conventions, including violations of human rights requirements.
- The decision-making on Teghut mining was carried out without ensuring timely and effective public awareness and participation that ruled out the possibility for the exercise of people’s right to participate in decision-making that might impact their lives and the protection of other rights such as right to live in a healthy and safe environment, right to property and right to cultural heritage.
- Mining activity and mining waste have a high risk of causing serious damage to the health and lives of human population, as well as the ecosystem. It will pollute and destroy sources of drinking and irrigation water, increase possibilities of landslides, destroy large areas of forest. The project will likely deprive the population of safe drinking water and food. All mentioned risks will grow because of high seismic activity of the region.
- The local population is being deprived of their permanent agricultural jobs, and forced taking mining jobs. The latter are short term, little paid and cause high health risks. In case of large scale mining in Teghut and large scale water, soil and air pollution, agricultural use of the area will become impossible for tens of thousands of years. This may cause dramatic increase in the rates of poverty and migration of the population in the future.
- Historical and cultural heritage is being destroyed, including valuable historical monuments and artefacts, which will be lost as a consequence of the mining project in Teghut.
- The Teghut case is not unique and most of the hazards described in this Appeal are valid in case of other mines in the country. Scales of mining in Armenia are increasing dramatically, and in many cases this is accompanied by illegalities, major human rights violations and threats to human life and environment.
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