Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan has released the following statement: “The internationally guaranteed right of the residents of Meghri community of Syunik Province of Armenia continues to be seriously violated through the deliberate acts of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan.
“The Human Rights Defender of Armenia has received alarming and disturbing reports from the residents of Meghri community that about 5 years ago the Azerbaijani armed forces changed the riverbed fed by the Zvaraget tributary of the Meghri River to Nakhichevan (Ordubad region). As a result, in Meghri-Agarak towns of Syunik Province, as well as in Nrnadzor, Shvanidzor, Alvank villages, serious problems arise concerning the access to drinking and irrigation water. The majority of the population of Meghri community is in these settlements,” the defender said, adding he was reported about the problem during a visit to the community in January 2021.
The residents of the 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 Nakhchivan (Ordubad region). As a result, it turns out that serious problems with accessibility of drinking water and irrigation water are emerging in the cities of Meghri and Agarak, as well as Nrnadzor, Shvanidzor and Alvank villages of Syunik Province. In these settlements, the population of Meghri community is the majority.
With these acts, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, and the authorities, are grossly violating the right of the residents of 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 described actions of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan are a gross violation of the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes adopted on March 17, 1992 in Helsinki and other international documents.
The Office of the Human Rights Defender of Armenia is currently summing up the analyses and evaluations of the serious and ongoing violations by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces of the absolutely and internationally guaranteed right of the residents of Armenia to drinking water and irrigation water, and these analyses and evaluations will be sent to international organizations and first and foremost specialized organizations, as well as to the competent authorities of Armenia.”