February 4, 2021 – 11:21 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net – The internationally guaranteed right of water for the residents of Meghri community of Armenia’s Syunik province is being seriously violated by the deliberate actions of the Azerbaijani armed forces, the Human Rights Defender reports.
Ombudsman Arman Tatoyan has received alarming and disturbing information from the residents of Meghri 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, serious problems have emerged due to lack of drinking and irrigation water in the towns of Meghri and Agarak, as well as the villages of Nrnadzor, Shvanidzor, Alvank. The majority of the population of Meghri community lives in these settlements.
“The thing is that Meghri River has always been the source of drinking and irrigation water for the settlements of Meghri community. The tributary Zvaraget (or Ayrijur) starts about 3,500 meters above the sea level. It rises from the South-Eastern slopes of the Zangezur Mountains and then joins Meghri River. Due to snowmelt, Zvaraget overflow every August, which secures the full supply of drinking and irrigation water for the settlements of Meghri community. Without this, Meghri River provides water only from the beginning of each year to June or July, and then the river becomes very scarce, and in the part of Meghri City, the river generally goes dry. A serious damage has already been caused to the environment of the Meghri communitym” Tatoyan said.
Residents and the Head of the Meghri community have 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 to Nakhichevan.
“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 it. This right has a unique value and is at the heart of other human rights to life, health, dignity and privacy,” Tatoyan added.
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.