GOING TO COP29? Act Now To Change The Venue From Genocidal Petro-Dictatorship Azerbaijan!

Going to COP29? Not without Greenwashing Genocide.

TO ALL HOPEFUL COP29 ATTENDEES FIGHTING TO SAVE THE FUTURE: THE FIRST STEP IS CHANGING THE VENUE!

We are an international activist collective driven to take action against the irresponsible, damaging, and dangerous decision of the UNFCCC to allow COP29 - the most consequential climate change conference in the world - to be hosted in Azerbaijan: a hugely corrupt petro-state under an extreme authoritarian regime, with systemic oppression that ranks even lower than bordering sanctioned states Iran and Russia - also a close ally. Mainstream Azerbaijani society is critically unsafe for activists, journalists, Armenians, practicing Shi'ia Muslims, and the LGBTQ+ community. Contaminated water and poor air quality in Baku present tangible health risks to all, which also go completely neglected by the ruling regime.

Not only that, but Azerbaijan is also abusing its power as host to legitimize and help fund a longstanding, ongoing campaign of genocide and total erasure of neighboring Armenians. Even the "Green Energy Zone" Azerbaijan is exploiting as a front for renewable energy investments is Nagorno-Karabakh: ancestral Armenian land that Azerbaijan ethnically cleansed of over 150,000 Indigenous Armenians. It is now a domestic priority for Baku to destroy the thousands of years of Armenian cultural heritage in the region to serve a deep-seated nationalist agenda of cultural appropriation and expansionism - which you are complicit in greenwashing by accepting COP29 in Azerbaijan!

But you can take action to change this without sacrificing any progress or exposure for your organization. Just enter your "Return Address" and send the message on the next screen telling the UNFCCC: We REFUSE to support renewable energy generated by genocide! We will NOT submit to the terms of an authoritarian regime! We DEMAND a change in venue!

This campaign makes it easy for you to make a real difference, and tangibly align YOUR organization against the greenwashing of genocide, fossil fuel proliferation, and systemic human rights violations.

ATTENDING COP29 IN AZERBAIJAN GREENWASHES HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

The human rights crisis in Azerbaijan - further exacerbated by rigged elections, heavy media censorship, and state-sanctioned propaganda - is so dire, endemic, and persisting, that Azerbaijan was suspended from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) just this year, voted out by all delegates from all countries except all but one delegate from pan-Turkic nationalist ally and fellow genocide denier Turkey, and a lone delegate from Albania. Out of typical refusal to take any responsibility for its extensively documented crimes, Azerbaijan subsequently withdrew from PACE entirely, denying all allegations and blaming persecution of Azerbaijanis.

Azerbaijan has also consistently failed to meet the standards of other organizations sharing alleged COP values of transparency and international cooperation. They were suspended from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which promotes the open and accountable management of oil, gas, and mineral resources, and permanently suspended from the Open Government Partnership (OGP), which promotes accountable, responsive, and inclusive governance. In fact, the latter decision was made in part due to EITI writing to OGP, recommending Azerbaijan be suspended.

Other global standards Azerbaijan has failed to respect include crucial initiatives from past COPs. While most data from Azerbaijan's Health and Environment Scorecard is missing due to lack of transparency, what is provided shows failure to implement initiatives like the Minamata Convention on Mercury, the COP26 Health Programme, or the inclusion of health co-benefits in their Nationally Determined Contribution. The activists protesting against the environmental destruction causing severe health issues, and exposing the corruption of the government elites who are profiting from it, are subject to surveillance including by infamous Israeli Pegasus spyware, online harassment, and extensive abuse by law enforcement, including torture.

ATTENDING COP29 IN AZERBAIJAN GREENWASHES GENOCIDE

Most tragically, Azerbaijan has also violated internationally brokered ceasefires to continue an ongoing campaign of genocide against neighboring Armenians, whose millennia of cultural heritage in the region they explicitly seek to reappropriate or erase completely. There is ample available evidence of horrific war crimes committed to this end that violate Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocols, the Rome Statute, and the Convention Against Torture - none of which have been accounted for by Azerbaijan, despite orders from the International Criminal Court and countless other international organizations.

One of the most severe consequences of accepting COP29 in Baku is legitimizing an ongoing campaign of genocide against indigenous Armenians in the name of renewable energy. Azerbaijan is not only exploiting ethnically cleansed Nagorno-Karabakh for their "Green Energy Zone", but also Nakhichevan: another exclave of Armenian land that Russia gave to Azerbaijan. Like in Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan then massacred the native Armenians in Nakhichevan and went on to destroy or appropriate all traces of Armenian cultural heritage in the region, now denying there were ever Armenians there at all.

This historical revisionism and violent dehumanization of Armenians comprises modern-day Azerbaijani media and education, and gets propagated by government officials and law enforcement. The presiding dictator Ilham Aliyev weaponizes this propaganda to justify the violent theft of Armenian ancestral lands, so he and his family alone can continue profiting from the exploitation of natural resources while Azerbaijani residents stay some of the poorest in the region, with health problems caused by pollution and drilling, and no legitimate state infrastructure. Aliyev blames their plight on Armenia to continue fueling the hatred and the war that makes him richer.

Another instance of twisting reality as a front for ethnic cleansing was when Azerbaijanis connected to the regime staged a fake environmental protest in the winter of 2022 to blockade the Lachin Corridor from Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh. While playing into the state-sanctioned agenda to villanize eco-protesters and Armenians, these fake protesters were initiating what would become nearly ten months of depriving Indigenous Armenians of food, fuel, and medicine.

But that's not the only genocide you'll be greenwashing by accepting COP29 in Azerbaijan, which is also mutually enabling Israel to commit genocide. For decades, these nationalist entities have supported one another's colonialist agendas and pushed each another's state-sanctioned fabricated narratives - which is also why Israel still hasn't recognized the Armenian genocide in spite of knowing firsthand how critical recognition and reparations are to healing from such trauma. Azerbaijan and Israel also employ the same tactics, like refusing to comply with international law, and weaponizing blockades of all resources and humanitarian aid.


They also help each other materially: Azerbaijan is literally fueling Israel's genocide of Palestinians by supplying 40% of its oil supply through Turkey, which still claims to support Palestine. In return, Israel supplies 70% of Azerbaijan's advanced military arsenal, including the spyware used on Azerbaijani activists, journalists, and political opposition, and the illegal white phosphorus munitions used on the forests around Nagorno-Karabakh to force the Armenians seeking refuge there to flee, and cause permanent damage to the native ecosystems which COP claims to protect. Sadly, this was yet another shared tactic that Israel used against Palestinians.

Otherwise, Azerbaijan has also been funding the Russian war in Ukraine. Russian oil company Lukoil, which has contributed over $60B to the Kremlin, shares a 19.99% stake in Azerbaijan’s biggest oil and gas field, Shah Deniz. In 2021 alone, Lukoil made over $757M, and still stands to profit over $7B over the next 10 years. Not only that, but Azerbaijan has been exploiting a loophole to sell refined oil from Russia to the West, ultimately profiting both sanctioned Russia and Azerbaijan's dictator.

ATTENDING COP29 IN AZERBAIJAN GREENWASHES FOSSIL FUEL PROLIFERATION

Most explicitly antithetical to the goals of COP, Azerbaijan is also unapologetic about near-total subsistence on fossil fuels - both internally (98%) and through exports (92%) - with plans to increase oil and gas production over the next 10 years by a third, to satisfy over $40B in investments in Azerbaijani oil fields, from fossil fuel giants like BP, TotalEnergies, and Lukoil. Furthermore, Western sanctions on oil from neighboring allies Russia and Iran is bringing Azerbaijan more business.

However, Azerbaijan has also been running out of oil. It's overpromised on contracts and depleted most of its natural resources. One way to delay economic collapse is by importing sanctioned oil from Russia, refining it, and selling it to the West - which is finally catching on that they're busting sanctions. To this end, Azerbaijan has been invested in obtaining land it can exploit for renewable energy that could then replace its internal energy mix, and divert that towards fossil fuel exports. That means investing in Azerbaijan's "Green Energy Zone" actually invests in the propagation of fossil fuels!

COP29 supporting authoritarian petro-states invested in the destruction of the planet is unfortunately, not shocking to any of us. Recall last year’s abysmal failure in UAE, another petro-state, which was just confirmed to have abused their position as COP28 host not only to invite nearly 3,000 fossil fuel lobbyists into negotiations, but also to solicit over $100B in fossil fuel investments. Of course, the fraction that actually finalized included a $10B investment with Azerbaijan’s notoriously opaque state-run oil and gas company, SOCAR, which is now partially privatizing. It is simply too late to humor counterproductivity of this magnitude.

DEMAND A CHANGE IN VENUE NOW!

Hosting COP29 in Azerbaijan serves nothing and nobody but the presiding dictatorship, escalating military aggression, and fossil fuel proliferation. It is harmful to attendees, our planet, neighboring Armenians, who have yet to receive any justice, and Azerbaijani citizens, who are currently facing another wave of crackdowns on the media and religious figures as a direct result of damage control leading up to COP29.


DO NOT participate in the greenwashing of fossil fuels! DO NOT participate in the greenwashing of genocide! NO CLIMATE JUSTICE WITHOUT HUMAN RIGHTS! BOYCOTT COP29 IN AZERBAIJAN, and DEMAND the UNFCCC change the venue, and put COP on the path the world desperately needs!

According to the UN Climate Chief Simon Stiell, we have “two years to save the world” from the detrimental impacts of climate change and galvanize the massive financial investment shifts towards a green economy. The international community has a responsibility to undisputably reject fossil fuels and their dealers, in the ambitious international climate agreements desperately needed to mitigate climate catastrophe. We must not look towards a corrupt petro-state for a plan to save the future, which it is invested in destroying.

MORE REACTIONS TO COP29-AZERBAIJAN:

1. Statement from Azerbaijani Civil Society
2. Statement from Armenian Civil Society
3. Statement from Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention
4. Petition from LIBERTAS Collective
5. Letter Campaigns from Amnesty International

Letter Campaign by
doop doapian
Weehawken, New Jersey

If you are one of the many orgs or individuals already boycotting COP29 in Azerbaijan, please email armorcoalition@gmail.com to be removed from this mailing list.