Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

Civil Society Appeal Regarding COP29 To Be Held in Azerbaijan

February 26, 2024

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Armenian NGOs disseminated a statement appealing civil society representatives not to participate in COP 29 to be held in Azerbaijan.

 

The statement says, 

 

"CALLING CIVIL SOCIETY NOT TO ATTEND COP29 IN AZERBAIJAN

 

The 29th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ("COP29") is scheduled to be held on November 11-24, 2024 in Azerbaijan. 

 

СОР29 will be held in a country that was expelled from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) by the decision of the PACE in 2024 for many reasons, in particular, the organization of the blockade of Nagorno Karabakh and military operations, continuous violations of human rights in Azerbaijan, because of the persecutions against opposition politicians and independent media. The Civil Coalition of Azerbaijani Exiles (AZEX), represented by the Institute for Human Rights (IHR) and the Institute for Freedom and Safety of Journalists (IRFS), calls on UN member countries to objectively assess the situation with human rights and democracy in Azerbaijan and not allow the current authorities to receive political dividends by holding such a large-scale event as COP-29 in Azerbaijan. 

 

Against the backdrop of pressures against the independent press and civil society in Azerbaijan, fake "public" associations are being created, such as the recently formed Environment First coalition, which promotes the aggressive and military agenda of the Aliyev government. One of the founders of the coalition is Amin Mamedov, who was an active participant in the siege of Nagorno Karabakh in 2022-2023. As a result of the blockade, around 120,000 people were deprived of basic necessities, heating and medicine. The fake environmentalists were then replaced by the military. Ethnic Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh were forcibly displaced from their homes.

 

Azerbaijan is expanding production of carbon-based fuels with support from major oil companies and some political leaders. At the same time, climate risks and environmental damage are increasing significantly. The area of Absheron peninsula is polluted with oil and oil products, beryllium, lead, uranium. The contaminated area makes up 21.3 thousand hectares (TASIS 2009).

 

"Azer-Iod" LLC emits radioactive iodine into the Mil Mughan irrigation canal, which supplies water to Mirgurbanli and Yeni Geshlag villages of Neftchala District in Azerbaijan. Residents complained, but the government-controlled press interviewed only the company's employees.

 

 In 2023, Söyüdlü Village residents in Gadabay District, Azerbaijan, protested against the construction of a cyanide tailings dump, which was intended for the waste generated by the operation of the Gyadaba gold and silver mine. Violent actions were taken against the residents by law enforcement agencies, using batons, rubber bullets, pepper and tear gas. No Azerbaijani organization has come forward in defense of the inhabitants of Söyüdlü village and the environment.

 

The participation of independent non-governmental organizations and the free press in COP 29 in Baku does not have security guarantees, provocations or forced expulsion from the country cannot be ruled out, as happened with the member of the Swiss parliament Nick Guger during the 2024 presidential elections in Azerbaijan, who was rudely and demonstratively deported from Azerbaijan despite the status of an accredited observer at the Central Committee of Azerbaijan and a Swiss diplomatic passport.

 

"We are concerned about the safety of climate activists who will go to COP29. We know that civil society in Azerbaijan is very limited in its activities and cannot safely advocate for important social issues. Our members have already been discriminated against during the climate negotiations, so the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change should pay special attention to security and large-scale civil society participation at COP29," said Olga Boyko, coordinator of the largest international climate network CAN EECCA. 

 

We, the representatives of the civil society, taking into account the PACE position of the authoritative international organizations regarding Azerbaijan, the numerous statements of the civil society on the international platforms regarding human rights violations in Azerbaijan, as well as rejecting the manipulative attempts of the Azerbaijani fake environmental organizations and coalitions to impose an aggressive political agenda of the Aliyev dictatorial regime, call civil society not to participate in the political show organized by the oil lobby at COP29.

 

 

The Statement is open to join.

 

  1.  "EcoLur" Informational NGO
  2.  "Center for Community Mobilization and Support" NGO
  3.  "Ecological Public Union" NGO
  4.  "Dalma-Sona" Environmental Foundation
  5.  Helsinki Civil Assembly Vanadzor office
  6.  "Helsinki Association" Human Rights Defending NGO
  7.  Transparency International Anti Corruption Centre
  8.  "Green Armenia" Environmental NGO
  9.  "Ecological Right" NGO
  10.  "Human Rights Research Center" NGO
  11. "Prospective Development Center" NGO
  12. "Armenian Forests" NGO
  13. "Armenian Environmental Front" Voluntary Initiative
  14. "Khazer" Ecological and Cultural NGO
  15. “Direct Democracy” NGO
  16. “Pink Armenia” NGO
  17. “Peace Dialogue” NGO
  18. “Women resource center” NGO
  19. “Success Lady Youth” NGO
  20.  “Public Oversight” NGO
  21.  “Spitak Helsinki Group” human rights NGO
  22. “New Horizons” NGO
  23. “Green Changes” NGO
  24. “Martuni Women’s Community Council” NGO
  25. “Goris Press Club” NGO
  26. “Public Journalism Club” NGO
  27. “Cinemart” youth NGO
  28. “Civil Youth Center” NGO
  29. Chemical Safety Coalition
  30.  Law Development and Protection Foundation 
  31. “For Equal Rights” NGO".
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