Representatives of Azerbaijan’s civil society strongly condemned Armenia’s mine terrorism against the nature, biological diversity, and animal world of the South Caucasus. According to preliminary information, more than 1.5 million mines and unexploded ordnance were found in Karabakh and East Zangazur, in the territories liberated from the occupation of the Republic of Armenia in 2020; and more lndmines are likely to exist.
Unfortunately, Azerbaijan is one of the countries most contaminated with landmines in the world. Recently, videos and photos of 2 bears (Ursus arctos) who were victims of landmines in the liberated areas have become public. It was a very disappointing moment, indeed. It was clearly observed that one of the bears fell on a mine and was crippled, and the other cub died after stepping on the mine. It should be noted with regret that the mine that caused the death of the bear cub was produced in Armenia in 2021. This means that even after the 44-day war in 2020, Armenia continued to mine the territories of Azerbaijan by abusing the Lachin road. Only in September 2023, as a result of local anti-terrorist measures carried out by the Azerbaijani Army, the mining of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia was prevented.
A few years ago, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) published a picture of 2 leopards (Panthera pardus) whose legs were crippled on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. In Garabagh and East Zangazur, there are also endangered species on the International Red List. This kind of cruel attitude shown by the Republic of Armenia towards animals and wild fauna is unacceptable. The rare natural pearls and animals of a biodiversity-rich region like the South Caucasus should not be subjected to such treatment. Armenia also used animals as conspirators. On September 11, 2023, the illegal armed groups of Armenia in the territory of Azerbaijan attached a remote-controlled improvised explosive device to a dog and forced it to move in the direction of the positions of the Azerbaijani Army. As a result of the vigilance of the servicemen of the Azerbaijan Army, the terrorist act was prevented.
Tavakkül Iskandarov, chairman of the Center for Biological Diversity Public Union, commented on the subject to Azernews. First of all, he referred to the UN Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines and other explosive devices.
“Unfortunately, although there is a convention on the use of mines and demining of territories, Armenia still does not comply with it. Today, the territory of Garabagh, once under the occupation of Armenia, is one of the most polluted areas in the world with mines. During the period of occupation, they continued to lay mines at the same time after the great victory. As a result of this incident, not only civilians but also nature and fauna species were endangered,” the head of the public union said.
Tavakkul Iskandarov pointed out the death of animals in the mined area and said that he also encountered cases of animals being maimed while walking in the mined area.
“It is possible that animals maimed by landmines may die later. Because the animals after the mine are crippled, they are deprived of the opportunity to hunt their prey. As a result, we often see cases of those animals dying due to starvation. Therefore, today I am in favor of providing this information to the world community. For these actions, Armenia should be condemned in general, and the world community should be aware of it,” Iskanderov stressed.
At the same time, the Chairman of the Union clarified the idea of what contribution animal rights protection organizations can make in handing over maps of exact mine areas to protect the nature of the South Caucasus from danger.
“In my opinion, there are groups and NGOs engaged in special environmental activities that should be aware of such events. Of course, they should disseminate information against these actions of Armenians within their means in various forums and even regularly cover them in the media,” the head of the public union said.
The expert also said that Armenia should respond to the world community for its anti-humanist acts of eco-war and cruelty to fauna.
“I think that Armenia should be condemned by the world community not only for its acts of aggression, but also for its environmental crimes, and should answer for its harmful actions against nature. For this, the Azerbaijani side should do its best and raise issues in various institutions, as well as in courts, in order to apply certain sanctions against the Armenian side.
Source : Azernews