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 Thursday, May 12 2022 11:42
Marianna Mkrtchyan

Armenian report on acts of vandalism and destruction of Armenian  cultural heritage of Artsakh (Nagorno- Karabakh) by Azerbaijan  released as U.N. document

Armenian report on acts of vandalism and destruction of Armenian  cultural heritage of Artsakh (Nagorno- Karabakh) by Azerbaijan  released as U.N. document

ArmInfo.The ad hoc report of the Armenian National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), regarding the acts of vandalism and destruction of the Armenian cultural heritage of  Artsakh (Nagorno- Karabakh) by Azerbaijan has been released as a  document of the U.N. General Assembly and the U.N.  Security Council. 

"The report contains well-documented facts on numerous cases of  deliberate destruction, desecration and falsification of the identity  of the Armenian churches, khachkars (cross-stones), shrines and other  historical and cultural monuments by Azerbaijan in the aftermath of  its premeditated military aggression against Artsakh between  September and November 2020. Vandalizing and misappropriating the  millenniums-old Armenian religious and cultural heritage of Artsakh  is part of the State-sponsored policy of instigating hatred and  violence against the indigenous Armenian population and denying their  right to life in the ancestral homeland.

"Azerbaijan's refusal to provide access to the fact-finding mission  of UNESCO to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone is a clear indication  of an imminent threat of destruction of any evidence of Armenia's  civilizational presence in the region, as was the case with the  complete annihilation of the Armenian cultural heritage in  Nakhijevan, most notably the ancient cemetery of Old Jugha, where  thousands of khachkars were razed to the ground between 1997 and  2006. One recent manifestation of such intent is the statement by the  Minister of Culture of Azerbaijan, announcing the establishment of a  so-called working group to alter and illegally appropriate Armenian  religious and cultural heritage. 

"Azerbaijan's actions are in clear defiance of the legally binding  order on the provisional measures issued by the International Court  of Justice on 7 December 2021 as a matter of urgency, which compels  that Azerbaijan "take all necessary measures to prevent and punish  acts of vandalism and desecration affecting Armenian cultural  heritage, including but not limited to churches and other places of  worship, monuments, landmarks, cemeteries and artefacts".

"A strong reaction by the international community to this  State-sponsored war on history and culture is ever more urgent to  ensure that the Armenian religious and cultural monuments are  preserved and further acts of vandalism are prevented. Notably,  Armenia emphasizes, once again, the imperative of unimpeded access by  the United Nations and its agencies, in particular UNESCO, to the  Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.

"In this regard, I would like to refer to the latest resolution  adopted by the European Parliament, on 10 March 2021, condemning the  destruction of cultural heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh and calling for  its immediate protection (noting that historical revisionism and the  defacement and destruction of cultural or religious heritage run  counter to the decision of the International Court of Justice of 7  December 2021), as well as calling for the dispatchment of the UNESCO  independent expert mission without delay, while stressing that  unhindered access to all cultural sites must be granted by  Azerbaijan. 

"I kindly ask that the present letter and its annex be circulated as  a document of the General Assembly, under agenda items 16, 72, 73, 74  and 134, and of the Security Council," reads a letter by Ambassdor  Mher Margaryan, RA Permanent Representative to the U.N. 

The reports is available here: 

1. undocs.org/A/76/822

2. undocs.org/S/2022/358 

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