The organization known as the “Community of Western Azerbaijan” has appealed to UNESCO, urging to safeguard the cultural heritage of “Western Azerbaijan”
The organization has recently forwarded an official letter to UNESCO, suggesting the need for measures to preserve the cultural heritage of "Western Azerbaijan" (which in reality refers to the Republic of Armenia) and to prevent what they claim to be its destruction by Armenians https://news.az/news/unescos-positive-response-important-for-not-distorting-regions-history-western-azerbaijan-community-spokesperson. In particular, the appeal called for the recognition of the appropriate role of communities as defined by international conventions in the preservation of cultural heritage. It also included a request for practical support to enhance the capacities of these communities in safeguarding cultural heritage.
UNESCO responded positively to the appeal and conveyed in a reply letter its commitment to taking appropriate steps in applying the principles of community involvement in cultural heritage preservation. Additionally, UNESCO expressed its willingness to provide support in the capacity-building field https://www.trend.az/azerbaijan/politics/3793001.html.
On September 7, Ulviya Zulfikar, the press secretary of the "Western Azerbaijan Community," issued a statement emphasizing the significance of UNESCO's positive response. She highlighted that this response is vital in preventing the distortion of the region's history: "Hundreds of Azerbaijani mosques, dozens of caravanserais, fortresses, historical monuments, as well as about five hundred cemeteries in the territory of present-day Armenia have either been destroyed or are in danger of being destroyed. This constitutes an injustice and a crime against humanity. The damaged monuments of Western Azerbaijan do not solely pertain to us; they are part of the world's heritage. Consequently, they must be safeguarded through international endeavors to thwart their complete obliteration," the statement asserted.
It is crucial to emphasize that the community will continue to actively collaborate with UNESCO to enhance its capacity to protect Azerbaijan's cultural heritage in Armenia. This includes maintaining a registry of cultural monuments using contemporary methods, evaluating their state, and taking essential measures for restoration https://www.trend.az/azerbaijan/politics/3793001.html.
The Press Secretary further added that the "Community of Western Azerbaijan" is committed to employing all available political and legal measures to restore the rights of Azerbaijanis who were displaced from the territory of present-day Armenia and facilitate their return to their homes.
It's worth noting that the "Western Azerbaijan Community" is the new name of the "Azerbaijani Refugee Union" NGO, which underwent a name change in August 2022. Azerbaijani propaganda regarding the concept of West Azerbaijan is not a recent development. Back on December 29, 2022, the Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan decided to establish departments with a focus on "History of Western Azerbaijan" at the Institute of History named after A. A. Bakhikhanov, "Folklore of Western Azerbaijan" at the Institute of Folklore, and "Toponymy of Western Azerbaijan" at the Institute of Linguistics named after Nasimi. It's worth noting that this decision followed the program speech of the President of Azerbaijan regarding the fictional concept of "Western Azerbaijan" https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=6387683154578326&set=a.558053444208022&type=3, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=6387682791245029&set=a.558053444208022&type=3. Among these decisions was the establishment of a dedicated scientific direction for the study of Western Azerbaijan. This department will focus on promoting international discourse, organizing conferences, symposiums, and seminars, engaging international experts, and addressing related matters.
In addition to the policy of forcibly displacing Armenians in Azerbaijan, engaging in acts that could be considered genocide, and forcibly deporting them from their ancestral lands, Azerbaijan also pursues territorial, historical, and cultural ambitions that encroach upon the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia and the historical heritage of the Armenian people. These actions constitute a series of unacceptable acts to erase the Armenian presence and heritage. It is unlikely that UNESCO is unaware of these actions.