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Territories of Vital Importance Must be Saved Through Rioting: Artur Sakunts

The ruling authorities don't create resources but endlessly appropriate existing resources — human, natural, and material resources — and finances simply to make profit, said head of Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor Office Artur Sakunts during a broadcast of Epress.am's Week in Review program [in Armenian only], commenting on Garni residents' protest against water from the river in their community to be shared with a few villages in Ararat marz (province).

"This is typical feudalism. The ruling power, in essence, has absolute monarch status. It has support pillars with which it regulates the economy, and the meaning of this is simply to make profits," he said. 

According to Sakunts, the only way to fight is that which Garni residents are doing; that is, through rioting, to save those territories that are of vital importance — water, land, the ecological environment. Otherwise, Sakunts says, if those territories are seized, then villagers, instinctively or consciously, understand that there is no longer room for them in this country and emigration is the only option. 

According to him, self-determination is based on not only an idea, but also vital interest.

"When a person sees his vital interest in a given territory and is ready to revolt for its sake, it is the basis of self-determination," he said, adding that in the first place, citizens must assume the role of both human rights defender and environmental activist. 

Sakunts said that the decision-makers are feudal lords and citizens are deprived of the opportunity to participate in the adoption of those decisions.

The human rights activist recalled the time residents of the village of Marts in Lori tried to fight against construction of a hydropower plant, by pushing the pipes into the gorge, but then they were silent, as pressure was exerted on them. In this matter, Sakunts placed importance on the role of human rights and environmental activists. According to him, if there is pressure on self-determination, human rights or environmental activists must arrive on the scene to reduce the pressure exerted.