04 Jul 2018
On 3rd of July a public discussion on theme “Awareness is the key to health” was held within the framework of the IPEN-funded project. In the meeting were also present the expert of Civil Voice NGO Silva Adamyan and the representative Naire Sahakyan. The event was organized by “Armenian women for health and healthy environment” NGO.
Issues related to the prevention of harmful chemicals used in the electronics industry, semiconductor industry and preventive measures to ensure safe working conditions were discussed at the meeting. Also there was a film screening of “Stories of employees of the clean room” during the meeting. The film was about the employees who had to work with such chemical dangerous substances as silicon, sulfuric acid, chlorine, etc. And despite the high pay, health damage has been irreversible, leading them to death at a young age.
07 Jun 2018
On 26th of September, 2017 “Best Western Paradise” hotel put a statement inviting society to swim with dolphins. The hotel organized dolphintherapy for sick children. However, this statement had a negative reaction. Having learned about all this, we tried to get some information about the problem and applied to the Environmental protection and mining inspection body of the Ministry of Nature Protection of RA by asking for the verification of the documents, permits, which were presumably given to the importer, the conditions for keeping animals, their health, and so on. In response to the official letter of Civil Voice NGO and Center of Bird Lovers NGO the Environmental protection and mining inspection body of the Ministry of Nature Protection of RA sent the copies of the results of the pool study, dolphins import permit and other documents.
It became clear to us that the dolphins imported from abroad and settled in the ordinary pool of “Best Western Paradise” hotel by sizes and water quality did not conform to the conditions in which these animals are accustomed to living. Moreover, many years ago we have already proved that Armenia is not the climatic zone where the mammals of the ocean and seas can survive.
So we applied to the Prime minister Mr. Karen Karapetyan, to the Minister of Nature Protection of RA Mr. Artsvik Minasyan and to the Minister of Healthcare Mr. Levon Altunyan on this issue.
On 4th of October, 2017 in protection of these animals we started collecting signatures demanding to free the dolphins imprisoned at Best Western Paradise Hotel as long as they were alive․ More than 1000 people, including distinguished foreign zoologists and environmentalists took part in the signing ceremony.
Shortly thereafter, the British Daily Mail, whose representatives visited dolphins kept in Best Western Paradise, touched upon the issue. A CITES certificate - Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora - that the hotel holds testifying to the provenance of the dolphins appears to be false. The certificate says the dolphins came from the Morskaya Zvezda Dolphinarium in Sochi on Russia's Black Sea. But Mrs. Dodd said; 'A close inspection of the CITES permit shows that CITES does not have its number, nor the security stamp on it. After this reference, the hotel complex denied its participation in this business, noting that it was just in its adjacent area and was registered at a different address, whereas the imported documents contained their address and renamed "Dolphinotherapy Dilijan".
On 1st of December we were present at the premiere of the documentary film “Freeborn”. The film was about how heavy the dolphins live in imprisonment. During the watching film, we also witnessed legitimate ways of catching marine mammals by the Russian well-known "Utrishskiy Dolphinarium-84" and the poor conditions for keeping them.
Then by examining the documentation, we recorded a number of discrepancies regarding the origin, import and residence conditions of animals. In particular,in one of the documents provided to us, in the document of "Utrishskiy Dolphinarium -84" is said that the conditions for dolphins are in line with Russian and Ukrainian standards, and also is said that the Russian law on marine animals kept in dolphinarium is still in the design phase and is not approved by the RF Government. It should be noted that Armenia is an independent state, has its laws and formats and is not be subjected to the laws and norms of Russia and Ukraine. There are no established norms in the RA legislation on the conditions of marine mammals held in semi-detention. As Armenia has joined a number of international agreements, we have decided to study the European norms defining the conditions of the dolphins, imprisonment and semi-detention. According to a number of points, the conditions of the pool of “Best Western Paradise” hotel did not meet the standards. However, taking into account the fact that the conditions for dolphins meet the standards of Russian and Ukrainian standards, as it was written in the document, we decided to study Russian standards and norms for dolphins (which are still in the design phase) and compare them with European standards. Thus, we applied to the author of the reference: to Mr. L. M. Muxametov, asking him to provide the project of Russian standard for the dolphinarium. Having received and studied them (closely related to the European standards), it became clear that the conditions of dolphins kept in the hotel did not meet those design standards.
Studying the origin, import and living conditions of animals, and recording a number of discrepancies and violations, Civil Voice and Center of Bird Lovers NGOs presented the whole problem and the reality to the Environmental protection and mining inspection body of the Ministry of Nature Protection of RA. The latter, as a solution to the problem, organized an administrative proceeding in which must be present the representatives of the the inspection body, the complaining parties and of the Dolphintherapy Dilijan. Meanwhile, the representatives of the Dolphintherapy Dilijan were absent at both proceedings. During the meetings we presented the European and Russian standards to the representatives of the inspection body. According to these documents, serious attention should be paid to the structure of the pool for the dolphins. We also presented to the Inspectorate a number of issues within the law. The representatives of the inspection body accepted all the arguments presented by us, but the presence of the 3rd party was mandatory for the full implementation of the proceedings.
In connection with all this, the Inspection's staff assured us that the organization had stopped its activities and waited for the permit from the Ministry of Nature Protection of RA for taking animals out of Armenia. At the same time our British colleagues worked with us on this issue. They were regularly acquainted with the official steps of the relevant bodies. On 21st of February, the president of Center of Bird Lovers NGO, Silva Adamyan, who is also the member of the council of the Environmental protection and mining inspection body of the Ministry of Nature Protection of RA, was present at the session of the council, where she raised the question on the activity of the Dolphintherapy Dilijan and received the same answer, that is they stopped their activity. However, a few days later, we received an informational letter from our British colleagues, that the Dolphinarium of Dilijan did not stopped its activity. Our British colleagues expressed their anger about how the relevant authorities could be so irresponsible. After the message of our partners, we tried to contact "Dolphinotherapy Dilijan" and found out that it was still active in Armenia. We applied to the inspection body for explanation and clarification, but we did not receive it.
So, summarizing the situation, it is obvious that the actions of the inspection body were formal and misleading to NGOs and all interested persons. On 4th of April, as a solution, Civil Voice NGO together with the Center of Bird Lovers NGO applied to the Minister of Nature Protection of RA Mr. Artsvik Minasyan by the official letter asking to provide a copy of the “CITES” permit license. According to the response, a copy of the re-exporting CITES permit given to Dolphinathotherapy LLC indicated that dolphins were exported from the country and imported to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Thus, "Dolphintherapy Dilijan" suspended its activities in Armenia.
06 Jun 2018
"Civil Voice" NGO, adhering to its principles, has repeatedly touched upon socio-economic and environmental issues arising from the activities of Akhtala Mining and Processing Enterprise CJSC. The relevant authorities by the official letters have been informed on all the issues that are fraught with serious consequences. Despite many warnings, no steps have been taken to solve these problems until today.
On 17th of February there was a regular alert on the problems existing in the Akhtala Mining and Processing Enterprise CJSC made by the experts of Civil Voice NGO. The experts of Civil Voice NGO were conducted regular researches in the Lori region when they saw the tailings flowing to river Akhtala from the Akhtala Mining and Processing Enterprise. The recorded fact was filmed and broadcast live on the web, and the Environmental protection and mining inspection body of the Ministry of Nature Protection of RA was immediately informed about this. However, there were no comments from the relevant structures on the incident.
The ore waste enrichment of Akhtala Mining and Processing Enterprise accumulates in the tailing dump of Nahataki Dzor, whose production volumes have long been exhausted. Because of the overloading of the tailing dump, the company often routes the tailing pipes to the canyons and the mudflows and the river beds of roads, which we often see. But! The company's management and the inspection body are persistently denied that fact, trying to alleviate the situation with different reasons.
Beginning from the 16th of January to 4th of February the inspection body had conducted inspections in Akhtala CJSC on the basis of regular alarms. An act on offenses was drafted in a result of the inspections, but there is no word in the act on the the illegal increase of the tailing dump of Nahataki dzor. Doesn't the inspection body know about it? In our opinion there is no need for comments.
How is the situation today? At present, The Great Ayrum - Tchochkan inter-community road is at least 10m below the tailing dump level, and the degree of its stability has not been assessed. If no action is taken as soon as possible, the road will soon be under the water and tailings. The elimination of impacts will once again remain on the state and people. And those who are responsible are silently waiting for the coming catastrophe ...
15 May 2018
On 9th of April the experts of Civil Voice NGO recorded a tortured wolf in Abovyan city.
The incident took place in the green zone adjacent to the rubbish dump of Abovyan city. In the mentioned territory near the tree we witnessed a large size wolf's body which had been tied to the tree but did not have gunshot injuries, however it was evident that the wolf was tortured.
Civil Voice NGO applied to the Ministry of Nature Protection of RA and to the Environmental Protection and Mining Inspection Body of MNP of RA on this issue.
In response to our letter the Environmental Protection and Mining Inspection Body of MNP of RA informed us that while the wolf had been transported to the nearest area he might be already dead. But, Civil Voice NGO also sent a video to their email where it’s clearly visible that the animal was tied to the tree and brutally tortured. This is the result of a cruel treatment of animal. The cruel treatment of predatory animals should be prevented and brought to account in the manner prescribed by law.
Below you can find the official letters:
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