• Iraq Social Forum

Press release and press kit - save the tigris- Ilisu dam

from iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative on Sep 26, 2013 12:13 PM
*International Activist meet in Baghdad to Discuss Legal Strategies to
Protect the Tigris River*

* *

*For Immediate Release-Baghdad 26th of September *

Baghdad, Iraq—Once the cradle of civilizations and agricultural haven, now
Iraq’s land has dried significantly mostly due to man-made causes. For the
past 20 years upstream dams in the Euphrates have reduced Iraq’s water
income. Now the most important water lifeline in the country, the Tigris
River, is being threatened by the construction of Ilisu dam within Turkey’s
GAP project that violates international and Iraqi law. The Ilisu dam
construction will have catastrophic effects on the lives of Iraqis, who
suffer increased drought and loss of lands due to lack of water.

In this context and within the framework of the Iraqi Social Forum
happening in Baghdad, the Save the Tigris Campaign is organizing the
session: “Water Crisis between Iraq and Neighboring Countries: The Ilisu
Dam, Exploring Legal Strategies in Iraq”, on 27 September 2013 in Baghdad.
 The aim of this session is to discuss legal instruments available inside
Iraq and elsewhere to protect Iraq’ s right to water and the equitable
shares of the Tigris River with Turkey. International activist together
with Iraqi lawyers, are attending the meeting that will analyze legal
instruments and propose ways to advocate the Iraqi government to increase
their efforts to demand Iraq’s right to water.

While Turkey is one of only a handful of countries that have not ratified
the 1997 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses
of International Watercourses, this does not mean that Turkey is not bound
by those principles set out in the Convention, which reflect general
obligations on all states under customary international law. Customary Law
related to shared waters is clear in its principle to cause no harm. In
that sense, Turkey, in building the Ilisu dam will cause adverse harm to
neighboring states and is in violation of customary international law. In
addition, Turkey has failed to conduct a transboundary environmental impact
assessment that is a threshold duty under international law and did not
consult with the communities directly affected by the dam, which is also
customary law. With its judgment of 2010 in the Pulp Mills case, the ICJ
has recognized that prior assessment of transboundary impacts is a
requirement of international law where there is a risk that a proposed
industrial activity may have a significant transboundary impact.

In addition, Turkey has engaged in bilateral agreements with Iraq on the
use of shared watercourses, like the 1946 Treaty of Friendship and
Neighborly Relations states that the government of Turkey agrees to inform
Iraq of any projects in order to render such projects to serve the
interests of both Turkey and Iraq. Even, if there were no such treaties
between the two countries, that does not excuse Turkey from its
international obligations.

The session will discuss if it possible to make a case against private
companies/Banks or other parties involved in the dam
construction/financing. Private companies and banks should be held
accountable for their engagement in projects that fail to comply with
international law and violate human rights. These European companies,
specifically the Austrian company Andritz has continued to provide services
and products despite being advised of the human rights and environmental
harms resulting from the project, the controversial nature of the dam and
despite previous consortiums having been dissolved due to potential human
rights violations. Iraqi law might provide for the possibility to proceed
legally against any private/public entity that causes harm.

The Ilisu dam case has not been resolved, and it is Iraq’s responsibility
to deal with it wisely, as the consequences of not doing so would mean
giving Turkey a free ticket with respect to the construction of other dams
on the Tigris River, that could result in a disaster to Iraq’s economic

Save the Tigris Campaign is a regional advocacy campaign with partners in
Turkey, Iraq, and internationally that works to raise awareness about the
economic and environmental impacts of the Ilisu dam on Turkey and Iraq.

Save the Tigris and Iraqi Marshes Coalition:

1. Iraqi People Campaign to Save the Tigris, Iraq

2. Civil Development Organization, Iraq

3. Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative,

4. Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive, Turkey

5. Corner House, UK

6. Counter Current, Germany

7. Un Ponte Per, Italy

For more information Contact:

Ismaeel Dawood: +39 3772748668

Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative

Ercan Ayboga: +491637577847


Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive

Johanna L. Rivera: johanna.rivera56@...

Save the Tigris Campaign


ًWeb: http://icssi08.ning.com/

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