Direct democracy won another victory in Armenia. On December 18, 2018 Jermuk Community Council adopted a decision to approve the collective petition of its community members on “Declaring Jermuk an ecological economic area and banning metal mining in the community”.
The decision was adopted with 7 votes FOR, 0 votes against, 0 abstained, and was guided by the following legal provisions: the Law of the Republic of Armenia on Local Self-Governance, article 18, point 1, sub-point 42; the Law of Republic of Armenia on Petitions, article 4, part 1, point 3, as well as guided by the principles of the local self-governance prescribed by the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, article 184, part 3 and the Law on Local Self-Governance, article 8.
Earlier in November and December 2018, the overwhelming majority of the de facto population of Jermuk exercised their rights for direct democracy and presented a collective petition supported by about 3000 signatures to the Government of Armenia, the Community Council of Jermuk, and the Head of the Community where they presented their own economic vision of the development of their region and demanded that all metal mining be banned in Jermuk and green, ecologically friendly economy boosted.
The signatories of the petition also mentioned:
“By approving gold mining at Amulsar the former governments have violated our right for participation in the decision-making. Up until 2016 Jermuk – the largest town in our community – was not recognized as an impacted community by the Amulsar project. After 2016, when Jermuk was finally recognized as an impacted community, no public hearings, as prescribed in the law, were held in Jermuk. Lydian company and the former governments of Armenia have ignored us, they have tried to mislead or intimidate us. We demand that the new government respects the will of the people, and it is with this hope that we present this petition.”
The Government of Armenia has not yet responded to the demands of the petition.
Community members of Jermuk have been blockading roads to the mining site for more than 6 months already, exercising their right to peaceful assembly, and demanding to stop all mining related activities at Amulsar.
P.S. Earlier this year, in May 2018, the Community Council of Noyemberyan adopted a similar decision which banned all mining exploration and exploitation activities in their community. That decision, too, was adopted based on the petition supported by 3074 members of the community.