PACE Resolution on Sarsang Reservoir (Full Text)
PACE Resolution on Sarsang Reservoir (Full Text) –
On November 23 PACE adopted a resolution on Sarsang reservoir. The text, which is a provisional version, as put on the official website of PACE, reads as follows:
1.The Parliamentary Assembly reminds all the member States of the Council of Europe that the right to water is essential to life and health, as specified in the 1992 UN Water Convention, and thus constitutes a prior condition for the enjoyment of other human rights. The Assembly emphasises the obligation of states to secure their population’s access to sufficient, safe and affordable water resources.
2.The Assembly regards free access to drinking water, which cannot be restricted by the existence of borders, as a basic right, a source of life and an asset of strategic importance to every state. The Assembly confirms that deliberate deprivation of water cannot be used as a means to harm innocent citizens.
3.The Assembly considers that the deliberate creation of an artificial environmental crisis must be regarded as “environmental aggression” and seen as a hostile act by one state towards another aimed at creating environmental disaster areas and making normal life impossible for the population concerned.
4.The Assembly deplores that the occupation by Armenia of Nagorno-Karabakh and other adjacent areas of Azerbaijan creates similar humanitarian and environmental problems for the citizens of Azerbaijan living in the Lower Karabakh valley.
5.The Assembly notes that the lack of regular maintenance work for over 20 years on the Sarsang reservoir, located in one of the areas of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenia, poses a danger to the whole border region. The Assembly emphasises that the state of disrepair of the Sarsang dam could result in a major disaster with great loss of human life and possibly a fresh humanitarian crisis.
6.In view of this urgent humanitarian problem, the Assembly requests:
6.1.the immediate withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from the region concerned, thus allowing:
6.1.1.access by independent engineers and hydrologists to carry out a detailed on-the-spot
6.1.2.global management, throughout the catchment area, of the use and upkeep of the Sarsang water;
6.1.3.international supervision of the irrigation canals, the state of the Sarsang and Madagiz dams, the schedule of water releases during the autumn and winter, and aquifer overexploitation;
6.2. the Armenian authorities to cease using water resources as tools of political influence or an instrument of pressure benefiting only one of the parties to the conflict.
7. The Assembly firmly condemns the lack of co-operation of the Armenian parliamentary delegation and the Armenian authorities during the preparation of this report. The Assembly regards such behaviour as inconsistent with the obligations and commitments of a country which is a full member of the Council of Europe. The Assembly will consider what measures to take in this case and in any similar cases which may arise during the terms of office of its parliamentarians.”