ArmInfo. On February 19, the UN issued a letter from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Artsakh David Babayan to the Secretary General of the Organization Antonio Guterres in connection with the systematic and deliberate destruction by the Azerbaijani authorities of the Armenian cultural heritage in the territories of Artsakh under Azerbaijani occupation, which is a flagrant violation of international law.
Thus, in his letter, Babayan draws the attention of the UN Secretary General to the fact that there are serious grounds to believe that the Azerbaijani authorities are preparing the ground for the complete mass destruction and elimination of artifacts of the Armenian cultural heritage in these territories. They noted that in a letter from the Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan to the United Nations dated December 18, 2020 to the Secretary-General (A / 75/660-S / 2020/1267), the Azerbaijani authorities made absolutely absurd and incredible accusations, claiming that the authorities of the Republic Artsakh <were oxidized and smeared with vinegar> Armenian khachkars (stone steles with a carved image of a cross) <to give them the appearance of monuments of antiquity, and then [they] were buried as <indisputable> proof of centuries-old Armenian roots in the area>.
“These accusations are categorically false, if not ridiculous. However, Azerbaijan’s self-serving and fabricated accusations should be taken seriously as it is an ominous harbinger of Azerbaijan’s systematic denial and destruction of the Armenian historical and cultural heritage in the region. We have already drawn your attention to the ongoing state Azerbaijan's campaign aimed at the complete or partial destruction of all Armenian cultural and historical monuments under the control of Azerbaijan, "Babayan emphasized.
At the same time, the minister cited the deliberate destruction of several thousand medieval khachkars of the Armenian cemetery of Old Julfa in Nakhichevan in 1997-2006 as the most tragic fact of the practice of destroying the Armenian cultural heritage.
“After the recent aggression of Azerbaijan against the Republic of Artsakh and its people, our concerns are growing. Azerbaijan is creating artificial obstacles in the way of the decision of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to send a technical assistance mission to Artsakh and adjacent regions in order to compile a preliminary list of the most In a recent press statement, the UNESCO representative emphasized Azerbaijan's intransigence in this matter: “At this stage, this UNESCO proposal received the full support of the Minsk Group co-chairs. It received the full support of the Republic of Armenia, as well as the Republic of Artsakh. Azerbaijan opposes it in an attempt to politicize this issue.Azerbaijan's hostility to the UNESCO proposal and its unwillingness to agree with it in a timely manner violates even its obligations under Article 5 of the Second Protocol to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cult urn values ??in the event of an armed conflict in 1954, which provides for a specific requirement: "measures taken in peacetime to protect cultural property from the foreseeable consequences of an armed conflict ... include, if necessary, drawing up lists," the Artsakh Foreign Minister added.
The letter also says that in Soviet times and in 1992-1994. During the military aggression against the Republic of Artsakh, the Azerbaijani authorities destroyed and completely destroyed 167 Armenian churches, 8 monastic complexes and 123 cemeteries. During the same period, about 2,500 Armenian khachkars and over 10,000 Armenian tombstones were destroyed and used as building materials. "The danger of destruction of all cultural monuments of the Armenian heritage located in the territories of the Republic of Artsakh currently occupied by Azerbaijan is obvious and inevitable. I hereby propose to the Secretary General to take effective steps to ensure the protection of Armenian historical, cultural and religious monuments; to promote the fulfillment of the role of UNESCO and expand its capabilities in this regard; and demand from the Azerbaijani authorities to respect and fulfill their obligations to preserve the Armenian cultural heritage, which is currently under the effective control of Azerbaijan, and to abandon their vicious policy of its elimination and destruction, "Babayan summed up.
The full text of Babayan's letter can be found at the following link: https://www.undocs.org/ru/A/75/739.