Open Letter to 3rd Working Group of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

Open Letter to 3rd Working Group of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

The 3rd Working Group of the Armenian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF) has addressed an open letter to all participants from 6 countries that are members of 3rd Working Group of EaP CSF regarding the blockade of Lachin Corridor, which links Artsakh with Armenia. Along with Armenia, the EaP CSF is also represented by Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus.

The letter particularly says:

"Dear colleagues, hope you are doing well and have enjoyed the holidays. Our congratulations to all of you. Wish you a successful, peaceful, and productive year!

Leaving the festive mood aside, we have to address the issues that we were hoping would remain in 2022 and not be reflected in this year, but, unfortunately, we have been wrong.

We would like to inform you that it is already the 28th day since a group of Azerbaijani citizens, who call themselves "environmental activists" have blocked the Goris-Stepanakert highway: The Lachin Corridor, which is the sole road connecting Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia and the outside world. It is the only liferoad for the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh, since the alternative road through Kelbajar has been blocked by Azerbaijani troops since
November 9, 2020, and before that the airspace (air connection) was closed to aircraft by Azerbaijan.

Over 120,000 people, including the elderly, women, and children, have been deprived of vital resources, essential goods and services, access to health care, freedom of movement enabling them to be with their parents and children, and all that under a fake environmental agenda. Those civilians are at risk of hunger and epidemics. EaP CSF Steering Committee co-chairs addressed the situation on December 23, 2022, demanding from Azerbaijani authorities immediately open the Lachin Corridor and refrain from actions aimed at undermining the functioning of transport and
energy communication connecting Armenia with Nagorno-Karabakh in the future, which may cause a humanitarian catastrophe in the latter.

Why with a false agenda, let's clarify. In recent days, the statements of the Azerbaijani authorities, as well as the actions of "activists", made it obvious that the so-called "ecological action" initiated by the Aliyev regime has no relation to ecological problems.

Environmental activists all over the world are fighting for human natural rights and general well-being. They are not doing it for causing a social crisis anywhere. Vice versa, they fight for civil and social justice. There is no need for proof that the Azerbaijanis blocking the Lachin corridor are not eco-activists. The real eco-activists do not put forward political slogans, instead of just handing the mine to others, they demand to close mines, introduce clean technologies, and improve legislation and control mechanisms. True eco-activists do not wear fur coats and do not strangle white doves in their hands. True eco-activists do not make political appeals and they do not demonstrate the "Grey Wolves" logo, which is a sign of terrorism and aggression, moreover, it is prohibited in many countries. And we are deeply disappointed, that some EaP CSF delegates from Azerbaijan
participated in that shameful blockade of the peaceful people. And we haven't heard any reaction on this either from the Azerbaijani National Platform or from its third working group.
It is known that environmental activism is closely related to human rights. They strive for the protection and realization of human rights. And as you know there is a big problem in this regard in Azerbaijan, there are many examples when genuine human rights defenders were subjected to pressure and were forced to leave the country.

Considering that the issues of a healthy environment, climate change, energy, and transport are on the agenda of the 3rd Working group, we want to express our concern about the above-mentioned issue, because Azerbaijan's false environmental agenda overshadows environmental activism in general and proves once again that Azerbaijan's "civil society" advances the political theses of dictator Aliyev.

Dear colleagues, we expect both your adequate and in-time reaction regarding the situation.

The WG3 of the EaP CSF Armenian National Platform".

January 11, 2023 at 11:12