The internationally guaranteed right of water for the
residents of Meghri community of Syunik marz of the Republic of Armenia is
continuously seriously violated by the deliberate actions of the Azerbaijani
The Human Rights Defender of Armenia has received alarming
and disturbing alarms 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 region, as
well as in Nrnadzor, Shvanidzor, Alvank villages, serious problems arise due to
the availability of drinking and irrigation water. The majority of the
population of Meghri community is in these settlements
The Defender of the Meghri community, as well as the
delegation led by the Human Rights Defender, received the necessary information
regarding these issues from the Defender during a visit in January.
The issue is that the drinking and irrigation water of the
settlements of Meghri community has always been provided at the expense and
provisions of "Meghri" river. "Zvaraget" or
"Ayrijur" tributary starts about 3,500 meters above the sea level. It
rises from the South-Eastern slopes of the Zangezur Mountains and then joins
the Meghri main river. Due to the snowmelt, Zvaraget has been flooded since
August of each year, due to which the full supply of drinking and irrigation
water has always been ensured for the mentioned settlements of Meghri
community. Without it, the Meghri River provides water only from the beginning
of each year from June to July, and then the Meghri becomes very scarce, and in
the part of Meghri City, the river is generally dry. Thus, by way of this,
serious damage has already been done to the environment of the Meghri
Residents and the Head of the Meghri community informed the
Human Rights Defender that every month the Azerbaijani military creates brakes
with special engineering equipment and thus changes the course of the tributary
In other words, as a result of these deliberate actions of
the Azerbaijani armed forces, serious problems have arisen every year beginning
in August for the residents of Meghri, Agarak, Nrnadzor, Shvanidzor, and Alvank
villages due to the unavailability of drinking and irrigation water.
At the same time, all of this is done with the threat of a
real dangerous risk to human life, as the section of the "Zvaraget"
tributary of the "Meghri" river is under the direct target of the
Azerbaijani military and is controlled by them.
These actions of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces and, in other
words, by those in positions of power, are grossly violating the rights to
water, which is vital for the residents of the Meghri community of Armenia and
is guaranteed absolutely by international norms.
The right to water is guaranteed internationally. This right
includes the human right to have sufficient water for both continuous drinking
and domestic use (irrigation, hygiene, etc.). At the same time, there must be
not only a safe access to water, but also a full access to water. This right
has a unique value and is at the heart of other human rights to life, health,
dignity and privacy.
This right is so fundamental that the United Nations has
declared the right to water and sanitation a global Sustainable Development
Goal, taking into account the fundamental principles of water, irreplaceable
importance for human development, and organization of life’s necessities. The
UN Secretary-General described this right as a goal of the Millennium
The described actions of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces
grossly violate the Convention on the Transboundary Watercourses, the Use and
Protection of International Lakes as adopted in Helsinki on March 17, 1992, and
other international instruments.
The Human Rights Defender's Office of Armenia is currently
summarizing the internationally absolutely and unequivocally guaranteed rights
of the people of Armenia to drinking and irrigation water and the infringement
upon these rights by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces.