Despite the recommendations of the President of Azerbaijan, the Ministry did not allow monitoring in Soyudlu
Events in Soyudlu
Although 3 months have passed since the protests about the environmental problem in Soyudlu village of Gadabay district in Azerbaijan, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources has not yet created conditions for independent monitoring in the area. This was reported by Ilham Huseynli, coordinator of the Coalition for Increasing Transparency in the Mining Sector.
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After the protests in the village, the coalition asked the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources on July 10 to create conditions for monitoring in the area. A day later, President Ilham Aliyev talked about the events in Soyudliu and said that independent experts should be involved in the study of the area.
But the coalition, which repeatedly applied to the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, did not receive a positive response. Huseynli told Abzas Media that apparently the ministry is not interested in this issue.
According to Huseynli, the last time they contacted the ministry was just today, but even this time they were told that “your application is under review.”
“We wanted more reliable monitoring. Usually there is government monitoring on such issues. But usually the public finds the results of monitoring conducted by civil society more reliable. That was also the mission of our organization. We are a coalition of transparency initiatives in the mining sector. That’s why we applied. It’s a pity, we saw once again that this power structure is not interested in working with civil society,” Huseynli said.
On June 20-21, local residents protested in Soyudliu village of Gedabek district. They oppose the construction of a new artificial lake to release wastewater from the nearby Gedabek gold mine.
According to the villagers, the ecology has been seriously affected by the long-term operation of the gold mine. The air is polluted with cyanide gas, which is harmful to the health of the population. Villagers say that the construction of a second artificial lake for toxic waste in the pastures will further aggravate the situation.
Police officers used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the protest of Soyudliu villagers.
While officials stated that 5 people were sentenced to administrative imprisonment after the action, a working group organized to protect Soyudlu residents in Baku stated that 11 people were arrested. 8 of them were administratively arrested, a criminal case was opened against 3 people on charges of drug possession.
The Interior Ministry said that a service check was conducted against the police officers who showed violence on the first day of the action, later the structure said that there were no punished police officers.
On July 11, Ilham Aliyev also discussed the events that took place in Soyudlu during a meeting with members of the government. He said that only police officers behaved decently during the protests and they acted with sufficient restraint.