For more than two years, residents of the affected communities in the Amulsar area have been fighting for their voices to be heard and for the Amulsar gold-bearing quartzite mine development project to be suspended. The citizens had to realize the protection of Amulsar in self-organized groups, at the same time waiting for the active steps from the government. Unfortunately, the delay of these steps leads to new tensions, which are accompanied by acts of violence, that we witnessed in recent days.
The rejection of the culture of violence and opposition to the culture of life were the main axis of the revolution, in which the public began to formulate its expectations from the new government. That also implied a modification in mining policy. Mining projects are presented as large-scale, profitable projects that promise capital inflows, which we view as masculine, involving a large number of men both at the decision-making level and as institutional pillars, and in terms of profit-seeking as big wealth owners, also as physical labor used in the mining industry. The masculine approach works as a tool to show the power and to suppress the weaks, demonstrating the use of harsh and violent methods of dealing with nature, as well as the priority of the capital and the market. Such projects clearly show the state’s attitude towards the right to live in a healthy and safe natural environment, as well as reduce opportunity to escape poverty by organizing self-sufficient rural farms. Women are especially vulnerable, 57% of whom are involved in agriculture.
If the Amulsar mine is put into operation, the main burden of negative environmental, economic and social impact will fall on the settlements of the Arpa River valley and the resort town of Jermuk. Jermuk is a resort and tourism center, famous for its unique mineral water sources. And we already know how important is human health, also the current state of emergency in the country due the coronavirus pandemic should remind us of the necessity to change attitudes towards nature. Also, the recent research proves that the Climate change will deeply aggravate the water resources crisis, and for example by 2025 2.4 billion people in the world will live in areas with water shortage problems, and women and girls will have to spend more time looking for the water for their families. Such “mine eater” projects will endanger the water resources of our country both in Jermuk and Sevan lake.
Considering the whole severity of the problem and realizing the great impact on the women’s quality of life, on the poverty alleviation and on health our coalition supports the citizens who protect Amulsar:
“The Coalition to stop violence against women” joins the demand to invalidate the 2016 Amulsar gold-bearing quartzite mine development project’s environmental expertise report.
We also demand:
- From the Government of the Republic of Armenia, to make every effort to avoid the violence against the citizens fighting in the Amulsar.
- From the Police of the Republic of Armenia, do not prevent in any manner the peaceful gatherings and spontaneous actions of the citizens concerned with this issue.
Armenia cannot continue to be a mining country, losing both its vital resources and impoverishing its citizens.