UNESCO Commission Emphasizes Need to Protect Cultural Heritage in Artsakh

The bombing of Ghazanchetots Cathedral by Azerbaijan was cited by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

Armenia’s national commission for UNESCO met on Tuesday and reaffirmed the need to protect Armenian cultural monuments that have fallen under Azerbaijani control as a result of the November 9 agreement.

“As you know, due to the Azerbaijani-Turkish aggression, after the November 9 trilateral statement, along with other humanitarian issues, one of the urgent issues has been the proper and guaranteed preservation of the Armenian historical, cultural and religious sites in the territories under Azerbaijani control,” Chairman of the Armenia’s National Commission for UNESCO, Foreign Minister Ara Aivazyan said in his opening remarks.

“Thousands of historical, cultural and religious monuments in the territories of Artsakh, which came under the military control of Azerbaijan, face the threat of destruction. These monuments, which are the material evidence of the centuries-old history of the Armenian people in the region, are of great value not only in terms of Armenian but also world cultural heritage,” added Aivazyan.

“The danger of destruction of the Armenian cultural heritage of Artsakh is real, taking into consideration the numerous precedents of their deliberate damage by Azerbaijan, the decades-long anti-Armenian policy and the systematic destruction of the Armenian cultural heritage. This is evidenced by the destruction of about 28,000 monuments of Nakhichevan’s rich Armenian cultural heritage,” explained the foreign minsiter.

Minister Aivazyan stressed that from the very first days of the Azerbaijani-Turkish aggression, all the necessary work had been done to alert the international community about the importance of protecting the historical and cultural monuments of Artsakh. Touching on a possible UNESCO fact-finding mission to Artsakh, Aivazyan stressed that Yerevan has been 
“constructive dialogue” with the organization.

Armenia Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports Vahram Dumanyan presented a briefing of efforts his ministry was undertaking on this front and added that guaranteeing the security of Armenian cultural sites is a universal right and is constantly being raised in relevant international platforms during contacts with partners.