The European Parliament condemned Azerbaijan’s policy of erasing the Armenian heritage in the draft report of “Implementation of The New European Agenda for Culture and the EU Strategy for International Cultural Relations” for 2022

In recent months, the European Parliament has been preparing the Implementation of The New European Agenda for Culture and the EU Strategy for International Cultural Relations, among other urgent issues, the protection of the cultural values of Artsakh has been highlighted for the strategy of effective implementation of the global cultural policy.

As a result of the discussions in the EU of the delegation of the Republic of Armenia with the colleagues of the European Parliament, a decision was made to submit an amendment regarding the resolution adopted by the European Parliament in March 2022 on the destruction of cultural values in Nagorno-Karabakh, in which there are clear and critical messages directed to Azerbaijan (taking into account the decisions on the destruction of cultural sites carried out by the ISIS/Da’esh  terrorist group on April 28, 2015 and on the destruction of cultural heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh on March 10, 2022).

The deadline for submitting the amendments (September 16th) coincided with the aggression launched on September 13 by Azerbaijan against Armenia, and Nathalie Loiseau also submitted a separate amendment as follows: “Condemns Azerbaijan's continued policy of erasing and denying Armenian cultural heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh and its surroundings, violating international law and the court decision of December 7, 2021. Condemns Azerbaijan's renewed aggression against Armenia, which further endangers the Armenian cultural heritage, calls on the EU to actively pressure Azerbaijan to end hostilities and participate in efforts to protect endangered cultural heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh, in particular by deploying mechanisms to facilitate UNESCO's fact-finding mission.”

Another amendment was made by eight Greek and Cypriot deputies from the EPP faction: “Calls on the Turkish authorities to fully respect the historical and cultural character of cultural and religious monuments and symbols, especially those included in the UNESCO World Heritage List; calls on Turkey to comply fully with its international obligations to protect monuments of Christian, Armenian, Pontic and Jewish origin.”

On the eve of the vote, on October 12, a new report prepared by Caucasus Heritage Watch was sent to the factions of the European Parliament, in which the case of the destruction of Surb Sargis church in Hadrut was presented.

At the session held on October 13, the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) of the European Parliament adopted by the majority of votes the amendment regarding the reference to the previous resolutions, as well as the 106th and 137th amendments.

The adoption of the above-mentioned amendment 106 was important not only due to its clear condemnation of Azerbaijan's aggression against Armenia on September 13, but also the reaffirmation of the AFET position condemning Azerbaijan's policy of destruction of Armenian cultural values in parallel with the development of reports on Armenia and Azerbaijan. After the adoption of the resolution on the destruction of cultural values in Nagorno-Karabakh in March 2022, Azerbaijan has been actively campaigning against the "one-sidedness" of this resolution.

Presentation of the lost collections of works of art of Shushi held in Stepanakert

The State Council for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in the Occupied Territories has so far documented and identified 1,026 works of fine art from the museum and private collections left in Shushi. This was announced on October 19 by the coordinator of the work of the State Council for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in the Occupied Territories, Sergey Shahverdyan during the presentation of the lost art collections of Shushi in the Stepanakert Center of Francophonie Paul Eluard’s House.

“One of our priority tasks is to identify all the collections left in the occupied territories. Besides the state museums, many private collections remained in the occupied territories as well. To date, we have managed to find out that 13 museum collections and collections of works of art remain in Shushi (in particular), including: 658 exhibits at the State Museum of Fine Arts, 51 in the Shushi International Sculpture Park, 66 in the exhibition hall of the Art Center, 36 from the collection of the Narekatsi Art Union, 168 exhibits at Samvel Tavadyan’s, 20 – at Artak Poghosyan’s, 37 exhibits at David Avagimyan’s workshops and exhibition halls” - Shahverdyan stated, adding that the collections of the State Museum of the History of the Fortified City, the Geological Museum, partly the Museum of the Artsakh Carpet, the Museum of Numismatics, the Art Gallery, as well as the house-museum of Vardan Dushman also remained in Shushi.

“We cannot be sure that this list is final. Because it is quite possible that people may appear whose private collections were also among them. This list will probably be supplemented with time,” the speaker noted. According to the coordinator of the work of the State Council on the Protection of Cultural Heritage in the Occupied Territories, the most difficult process is to identify the cultural property contained in these collections.  Not only museum pieces and collections of fine arts, but also their lists remained in Shushi”.

“All the documents that were supposed to be kept in the museum remained in Shushi. So we had to compile these lists again. They also have an evidence base, as these contain photographs or videos", - Shahverdyan emphasized, adding that a significant part of the exhibits from the lost collections of art works of some museums of Shushi was provided by private individuals for temporary display.

An international conference “Problems and Threats of the Protection of the Spiritual and Cultural Heritage of Artsakh” was held in Stepanakert

On, an international conference on the topic “Problems and Threats in the Protection of the Spiritual and Cultural Heritage of Artsakh” was held in October 8-11 2022 in Stepanakert. The conference discussed the priority issues of the policy of the historical and cultural heritage of Artsakh, the mechanisms of the Azerbaijani policy of misappropriation, the history of the Albanian Church, the issues of preserving and presenting the spiritual and material heritage of Artsakh to the public. Prominent scientists and researchers from the Republic of Artsakh, the Republic of Armenia and the Russian Federation participated in the conference.

Members of the “Artsakh Cultural Heritage Monitoring” team (www.monumentwatch.org) made presentations as well:

Petrosyan Hamlet

"Medieval Culture of Artsakh in the Context of Azerbaijani-Armenian «polemics»"

Petrosyan Hamlet, Muradyan Haykuhi

"Priority Issues of Artsakh Policy in the Field of Cultural Heritage at the Current Stage"

Kirakosyan Lyuba,

"The architectural heritage of Artsakh: academicism and distortion"

Yeranyan Nzhdeh,

"The current state of the study of the ancient culture of Artsakh and Azerbaijani excursions"

Armine Gabrielyan,

"The Culture of Jar Burials and the Cultural-Ethnic Image of Artsakh-Utik in the Ancient Period"

Tigranyan Armine,

"The International System for the Protection of Cultural Heritage and Artsakh".

About the conference under the theme “Reconstruction of Surb Hakobavank and development of the community”

On September 26, a conference on the topic “Reconstruction of Surb Hakobavank and Community Development” was held at the Institute of Ancient Manuscripts (Matenadaran) on the initiative of the “reArmenia”, and “Arevahovit” platforms, as well as the “Effective Government” Foundation.

The conference began with a welcome speech by the head of the Artsakh diocese, Bishop Vrtanes Abrahamyan, and with an address by His Holiness Garegin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. Architect Samvel Ayvazyan presented a project for the reconstruction of the complex, a video presentation dedicated to the Monastery of Metsaranits Surb Hakobavank was shown.

Within the framework of the conference, the book by the ethnographer Lilit Simonyan "Memory of the Patriarch St. Hakob of Mtsbin among Armenians" was presented. In the second part of the meeting, discussions on the spiritual, cultural and educational role of Hakobavank monastery were held.  The importance of pilgrimage and the community development plan were also discussed. The conference was attended by clergymen, ethnographers, historians, and various figures who repeatedly emphasized the significance of the reconstruction of Hakobavank monastery and the importance of carrying out these works at a high professional level.

After the event, a meeting was held at the Department of Cultural Studies, YSU, with the Executive Founder of the "ReArmenia" platform Gevorg Poghosyan, the co-founder of the "Arevahovit" platform Lala Mneyan and the co-founder of the "Monitoring the Cultural Heritage of Artsakh" project Hamlet Petrosyan, during which problems of preservation and restoration of the cultural heritage of Artsakh were discussed, taking into account the current difficult political situation and challenges.

Problems of preserving the cultural heritage of Artsakh were raised at the 77th session of the UN General Assembly

On September 22, 2022, at the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan delivered a speech, referring to the recent attacks on the sovereign territory of the Republic lauched by Azerbaijan and the difficult situation that arose as a result of those in Armenia. The Prime Minister emphasized that “36 settlements were targeted by the Azerbaijani armed forces in the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia, including Goris, Sisian, Kapan, Jermuk, Vardenis, Tegh, Geghamasar communities. This was not a border clash. It was a direct, undeniable attack against the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Armenia, which was condemned and addressed during the latest UN Security Council meetings and beyond”.

Speaking about the attacks launched by Azerbaijan and the situation that arose in the region as a result of those, the Prime Minister also mentioned the existence of threats and problems of protecting the cultural heritage of Artsakh after the 44-day war, noting in particular: “The post-war rehabilitation of Nagorno-Karabakh, the psycho-social issues of the displaced population, the repatriation of Armenian prisoners-of-war and the preservation of cultural and religious heritage remain on the agenda of our Government… We call to support the secure and unhindered access of UN humanitarian agencies to Nagorno-Karabakh in order to assess the humanitarian, human rights situation and ensure protection of cultural heritage on the ground”.

An international scientific conference on “Artsakh (Karabakh) in historical and modern context” was held in Moscow

On 15-16 September, 2022 an international scientific conference on “Artsakh (Karabakh) in historical and modern context” was held at the Armenian Church Complex in Moscow. More than 50 researchers participated in the conference: Armenologists, historians, archaeologists and culturologists from different cities of Artsakh, Armenia and Russia. Armenologists from the USA, Canada, Italy, Austria and France also made remote presentations.

The members of the “Monitoring the Cultural Heritage of Artsakh” team (www.monumentwatch.org ), representing the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia, the Department of Cultural Studies of the Yerevan State University, the National University of Architecture and Construction of Armenia and the National History Museum of Armenia also participated in the conference with the following reports:

Hamlet Petrosyan, Ph. D, Professor

Archaeological research of Artsakh: on the nature and time of the institutionalization of the Albanian Church in the light of new data.

Armine Gabrielyan, Ph.D

The culture of jar burials and the problem of ethnicity in the Albanian-Armenian contact zone in the Classical period.

Nzhdeh Yeranyan, Ph.D, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of NAS RA

On the question of the ethno-cultural belonging of the anthropomorphic stelae of the Artsakh steppe.

Lyuba Kirakosyan, Ph.D, Professor

The composition of the vaulted hall in the architecture of Artsakh.

Ruben Hovsepyan, Ph.D, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of NAS RA

“Torpedoing” the cultural heritage of Artsakh on Azerbaijani media platforms.

Haykuhi Muradyan, Ph.D, Department of Cultural Studies, YSU

Azerbaijan's policy towards the cultural heritage of Artsakh.

Armine Tigranyan, Ph.D candidate of the Department of Cultural Studies, YSU

International system for the protection of cultural heritage during the war and Azerbaijani vandalism.

Anush Safaryan, Ph.D student of the Department of Cultural Studies, YSU

Khachkars: the state policy of Azerbaijan towards the cultural heritage of Artsakh.

CHW has concluded a year-long investigation into the Armenian churches and cemeteries of Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan.

CHW has concluded a year-long investigation into the Armenian churches and cemeteries of Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan. The results, based on unprecedented site-by-site analysis, reveal a plan of state-sponsored cultural erasure with few parallels. See our interactive web platform: https://bit.ly/3qoXJBd
Our investigation sought to assess a complete inventory of Armenian cultural heritage sites in Nakhchivan. Some sites were impossible to locate or evaluate, but of the 110 monasteries, churches, and cemeteries that could be analyzed 98% were totally eradicated by 2011.
The destruction was striking in its breadth and completeness. Whether structures were in populated regions or remote areas, whether they were small or large, structurally sound or half-ruined by neglect, they were demolished.
Previous reports have revealed key aspects of this policy, and have sought to infer its scope. Hyperallergic's 2019 report by Simon Maghakyan and Sarah Pickman included eye-witness accounts of the state-guided destruction. https://tinyurl.com/3tszwvr3
CHW's assessment is the first systematic survey of this policy. For each of the destroyed 108 monasteries, churches, and cemeteries, we have compiled online, interactive ArcGIS StoryMaps that include historical information and proof of destruction. https://bit.ly/3qoXJBd
CHW's findings can also be accessed as a PDF report, titled, "Silent Erasure." The full version (29 MB) contains an inventory of every site. It is here: https://adobe.ly/3xeeKlf . An abridged version (2.2MB) can be found here: https://adobe.ly/3DlUkdQ .

The electronic version of the research “Cultural heritage of Artsakh under attack” is available at www.monumentwatch.org

We are glad to inform you, that the research “Cultural heritage of Artsakh under attack” by Hamlet Petrosyan and Haykuhi Muradyan published with the support of the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of the Artsakh Republic is now available in electronic form on our website in four languages: Armenian, Russian, English and French.
This research presents policy of Azerbaijan during the Soviet period and years of independence, emphasizing the dangers of preserving the educational and cultural heritage under the control of Azerbaijan, caused due to the war unleashed by Azerbaijan on September 27, 2020, the cases of vandalism registered to the present day, and the current challenges of the Artsakh Republic aimed at preserving cultural heritage.

The evacuation of monuments of the period of independence from Berdzor, Aghavno and Nerkin Sus has been completed

According to the statement of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan at a press conference on June 27, 2022, after changing the route of the Goris-Stepanakert highway passing the village of Aghavno, Berdzor town and the adjacent villages of Aghavno and Nerkin Sus will come under the control of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan, and the Armenian population will be evacuated. In early August, the authorities of Artsakh began the evacuation of cultural monuments from these settlements.

As of August 25, 47 cultural monuments were evacuated, including khachkars (Figs. 1-4), memorial stones (Figs. 5-7), busts (Fig. 8), memorial springs (Figs. 9-10). Unfortunately, in such a short time it was impossible to implement the evacuation of  Surb Hambardzum (Holy Ascension) Church in Berdzor (Fig. 11), Surb Nahatakyats (Holy Martyrs) Church in Aghavno (Fig. 12) and the memorial complex dedicated to the Artsakh Liberation War in Berdzor (Fig. 13). However, it was possible to evacuate some specific elements of the Church of the Holy Ascension: the tympanum above the entrance (Fig. 14), the eagle sculpture of the eastern facade (Fig. 15), the holy altar, the baptistery, and the crosses of the main church and a rotunda.

The evacuation of these monuments is being actively discussed in the Azerbaijani media space, accusations are being made about the “plundering” of the Church of the Ascension (Telegram Contact @KarabakhBulletin). If the enemy threatens to destroy, modify, wipe out and desecrate the monuments of the “occupiers”, if we have repeatedly witnessed the manifestations of Azerbaijan’s special barbaric policy towards new monuments (we would mention some of those: the chapel and khachkars of Mataghis village, the khachkar, dedicated to the First Artsakh liberation war in Vorotan, the memorial with a composition in the form of crosses in Shukurbeyli village in the region of Jrakan (Jabrayil), the khachkar in Arakel village of the region of Hadrut, the "Revived Talish"  monument in Talish village of the region of Martakert, the church of Mekhakavan (Jabrayil)) therefore, unfortunately, evacuation is the only way to save these monuments from desecration and destruction.

It should be noted that since 2021, the project of the Azerbaijani “Public Organization for Monuments Protection” has been spread on the social platforms of Azerbaijan, which intends to turn Surb Hambardzum Church into mosque.

We express our special gratitude to the Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, the staff of the Government of the Republic of Armenia and the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of the Republic of Armenia, the Deputy Minister Lernik Hovhannisyan for their assistance in the evacuation and organizational work. Our special gratitude to Aleksan Hakobyan, the former head of Berdzor administration.

Appeal of the Armenian National Committee for Byzantine Studies

The Armenian National Committee for Byzantine Studies issued a special appeal (https://us17.campaign-archive.com/?u=719696e03a73ee3361188422f&id=1e932c4790&fbclid=IwAR1JF5CqX0DV85zkvJktEm2N5SDB1pmyH9XEQEi4RLEe28YjzVurLIVIQjk

“Honorable colleagues,

the members of the Armenian National Committee for Byzantine Studies appeal to AIEB and to all the National Committees to express their solidarity with the statement recently made by the UNESCO intended to preserve historical monuments on the territory of Nagorno Karabakh. We hope that our declaration may be conducive to monitoring the protection of ancient and medieval monuments on this territory, a part of which is found, as a result of the war of 2020, under Azerbaijan's control. In the light of numerous cases of intentional destruction of Armenian monuments on territories controlled by Azerbaijan (cf. in particular the destruction of mediaeval Armenian cemetery in Nakhichevan), as well as the erasure of Armenian inscriptions on churches and especially in view of the recent declarations made by Azerbaijani authorities intending to ‘verify' the authenticity of ancient Christian monuments and to ‘cleanse’ them from what they claim to be traces of ‘Armenianisation’ of monuments of Caucasian Albania, the rich historical heritage of Nagornyj Karabagh is in imminent danger.

Therefore, we call you to raise your voice against this cleansing of the millennia-long presence of Armenian culture on the territory of Nagornyj Karabakh.
May our voice sound at least as eagerly as it did against the modification of the status of Hagia Sophia in 2020.

1 June 2022”.

The process of evacuation of monuments of the period of independence began in Berdzor, Aghavno and Sus

According to the trilateral agreement signed on November 9, 2020, both Berdzor town and Aghavno and Sus villages came under the control of the peacekeeping contingent of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation stationed in the Republic of Artsakh. However, on June 27, 2022, during the press conference the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan stated that after changing the route of the Goris-Stepanakert road passing through Aghavno village, the villages of Aghavno and Sus, Berdzor town and the surrounding settlements will come under the control of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan.

It should be noted that, both in Aghavno, and in Berdzor, the churches of Surb Hambardzman (Holy Ascension, Berdzor, 1998, fig. 1) and Surb Nahatyakyats (Holy Martyrs, Aghavno, 2002) were built after the liberation, many khachkars dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide (in the courtyard of the Church of the Holy Ascension in Berdzor, Fig. 2, in Sus village, now evacuated, Fig. 3), the 1988 earthquake victims (in the courtyard of the Church of the Holy Ascension in Berdzor, Fig. 4), to the memory of soldiers died in the liberation struggle (on the territory of the memorial complex in Berdzor, fig. 5, 6, and by the road leading from Aghavno to Berdzor, fig. 7), in memory of the fallen soldiers during the Four-Day war (in the courtyard of the school in Berdzor village, fig. 8), as well as many other memorials and springs (Fig.9-11).

And what fate awaits the local cultural monuments? In his speeches, the President of Azerbaijan openly emphasized that they were demolishing monuments, buildings, etc., "illegally" erected by the "occupiers" during the past thirty years.

Under such conditions, the monuments of the period of independence are the primary target. The Artsakh authorities have already made a decision to evacuate these and have begun the process. Khachkars of Sus village have already been evacuated and moved to safe places (Fig. 12, 13). The Government of the Republic of Artsakh informs that khachkars and memorials of Berdzor and Aghavno will be evacuated in the near future. The head of Aghavno village Andranik Chavushyan said in his interview to hraparak.am that they are going to move the khachkars as well (“We will take the khachkars out. Shall we leave these to them to urinate on? The head of Aghavno village” - hraparak.am).

What fate will befall the churches of the Holy Ascension and the Holy Martyrs is still unknown. It should also be noted that we have already witnessed many times the special Azerbaijani vandalism against new monuments, such as khachkars of the chapel of  Mataghis village and its surroundings, the khachkar dedicated to the First Artsakh liberation war in Vorotan, the memorial with a cross composition in Shukurbeyli village  in Jrakan (Jabrayil) region, the khachkar of  Arakel village in Hadrut region, the "Revived Talish" monument in Talish village in Martakert region, the church of Mekhakavan (Jabrayil) village.

The presentation of the Caucasus Heritage Watch platform (https://caucasusheritage.cornell.edu/) took place

At the end of 2020, researchers from Cornell and Purdue universities created the "Caucasus Heritage Watch" (Caucasus Heritage Watch: https://caucasusheritage.cornell.edu/) platform, where with the help of satellite imagery, they monitor and document the condition of cultural heritage under the control of Azerbaijan. The activities of the team and the website have gained wide international recognition. On July 28, 2022, in the round hall of the National Academy of Sciences of the RA (Baghramyan 24), the founders of the project, archaeologists Lori Khachadurian and Adam Smith presented the process of their research initiative and the activity of website to the Armenian academic community.

The presentation of the books “The Monumental Culture of Artsakh” by Hamlet Petrosyan and Nzhdeh Yeranyan, “Cultural heritage of Artsakh under attack” by Hamlet Petrosyan and Haykuhi Muradyan, and the website of “Monitoring the cultural heritage of Artsakh” – www.monumentwatch.org took place

On July 6, 2022, in the city of Stepanakert, at the House of Paul Eluard Francophone Center, the presentation of the books "The monumental culture of Artsakh" by Hamlet Petrosyan and Nzhdeh Yeranyan, "Cultural heritage of Artsakh under attack" by Hamlet Petrosyan and Haykuhi Muradyan, as well as the Artsakh Cultural Heritage Monitoring website - www.monumentwatch.org took place. The event was initiated by the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of the Republic of Artsakh

The presentation was attended by the Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of the Republic of Artsakh Anahit Hakobyan, Deputy Minister Lernik Hovhannisyan, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Foreign Relations of the National Assembly Vahram Balayan and MP Armen Sargsyan, representatives of structures dealing with the problems of preserving the cultural heritage, as well as university and scientific community.

The acceptance speech was made by the Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of the Republic of Artsakh  Anahit Hakobyan and Deputy Minister Lernik Hovhannisyan.

Hamlet Petrosyan, Nzhdeh Yeranyan and Haykuhi Muradyan presented the content of the books, the structure and activities of the site.

Addressing the theme of the destruction of Armenian cultural heritage by Azerbaijan in the occupied territories of Artsakh in the annual report of the US Department of State Committee on Religious Freedoms for 2021

In April 2022, in the annual report of the International Committee on Religious Freedom of the US Department of State, assessed the religious freedom in Azerbaijan in 2021 generally as negative, including the problems of protecting religious and cultural heritage (destruction, elimination and falsification of the historical facts) in Artsakh (according to the document - Nagorno Karabakh), the state of which has become more alarming in the territories that came under the control of Azerbaijan as a result of the ceasefire signed between Armenia and Azerbaijan in November 2020.

Although the Azerbaijani media have recently spared no effort to distort the entire content of the report by spreading disinformation, nevertheless, both in the short and full text of the report, the destruction of Armenian cultural property and state policy on this matter are mentioned in detail, referring to both history and our days.

In particular, the annual report of the US Commission on Religious Freedom is based on satellite imagery captured by Caucasus Heritage Watch showing the destruction of two Armenian cemeteries, a mosque and several churches. Although it has already been recognized as an international crime (PACE resolutions, the International Court in The Hague), nevertheless, it remained unpunished by Azerbaijan. In 2020, the Azerbaijani government announced that two soldiers would be charged with destroying Armenian tombstones, but the authorities refused to release any information about these incidents. The report based on CHW satellite imagery, documents on the destruction in 2020 of Armenian cultural and religious sites in June-September and says they are still in danger today due to construction.

The report mentions recent unique precedents by important international bodies, where they considered significant the December decision of the International Court of Justice, calling on Azerbaijan to “take all necessary measures to prevent, punish, vandalize and desecrate actions related to the cultural heritage of Armenia, ... including churches and other places of worship, ... cemeteries”, as well as several PACE resolutions “in connection with the destruction of the Armenian cultural heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh”.

The report, with reference to important parts of the PACE resolution, confirms their importance, especially "the deliberate damage to cultural heritage during the Six Weeks War, as well as the deliberate shelling of the Cathedral of the Holy Savior of Shushi, the destruction or elimination of other churches and cemeteries during and after the conflict." The Global Religious Freedom Report for 2021 by the US State Department establishes for the first time Azerbaijan's ongoing destruction of Armenian monuments as a unique international precedent.

In particular, the propaganda of "Albanization" of Azerbaijan in order to deny the Christian heritage of Artsakh and the Armenian identity. is criticized. In this regard, the organization proposed that the US government provide funding to the Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US Embassy in Baku, with the aim of reconstructing, preserving and protecting places of worship, religious or cultural sites in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The report condemned Azerbaijan's policy of Albanianization of Armenian churches, citing a statement by the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry on May 4 that the reconstruction of the Church of the Holy Savior in Shushi, funded by the Azerbaijanis, should be carried out "in accordance with the original architectural style", but as a result it turned out that that the temple is also considered to be an "Albanian" heritage. The report says that the Armenian side is convinced that such statements are an attempt to hide the Armenian roots and structure of the church, including the original appearance of the dome of the church.

Acting Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Armenia Vahram Dumanyan in his letter to UNESCO accused Azerbaijan of actively pursuing a "policy of falsifying historical facts" when declaring Armenian cultural heritage sites in the occupied territories "Caucasian-Albanian".

In its report, the U.S. State Department expressed concern about problems with Armenian pilgrims visiting Dadivank after the ceasefire agreement in November 2020, saying it was difficult for Armenian pilgrims to visit it throughout the year, and in February-April, two groups were banned from entering the monastery. It is especially noteworthy that the report spoke not only about the destruction of Armenian cultural property during the war, but also about the destruction of Nakhichevan.

In June, The Art Newspaper, using satellite imagery, published a report on the destruction of medieval Armenian churches at Agulis in Nakhichevan. Churches were present in the 1977 photographs, but they no longer existing in the photographs of 2016 and 2019. Among those are Surb Stepanos, Surb Tovma, Surb Christapor, Surb Hovhannes Mkrtich, Great Hermitage Surb Astvatsatsin and Surb Hakob Hayrapet.

The Art Newspaper also reported on the destruction of Armenian heritage throughout Nakhichevan, which once included 89 churches, 5,840 khachkars and more than 22,000 tombstones, according to documents collected by independent researcher Argam Ayvazyan in 1964-87.

Clarification on the widespread comment regarding the decision of the International Court of Justice about the Convention of 1965 on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

Recently, information according to which "The Hague court has recognized Armenia as the owner of Artsakh monuments" has been widely circulated on Armenian and international media platforms. However, this is not true.

In fact, on December 7, 2021, the International Court of Justice in The Hague (Netherlands) upheld its decision on the basis of a lawsuit filed by Armenia against Azerbaijan for violating the 1965 UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which included a request for provisional measures. The decision of the court, consisting of three points, was issued by 15 judges (14 votes in favor and 1 against). None of the points mention the comment circulating in the press:

Moreover, despite the fact that Article 5 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination provides the “right to enter and use the inherited territory” and which should not be based on racial discrimination, nevertheless, there was no court order allowing Armenians to make pilgrimages, and to have the right to access the territories of cultural heritage (https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/01/13/armenia-azerbaijan-nagorno-karabakh-cultural-desecration-is-racial-discrimination ).

According to the court, the need to apply provisional measures is connected with the fact that the dispute has escalated due to the fear of causing irreversible damage to the Armenian cultural heritage. The importance of the judgment is expressed mainly in the following:

  • The decision of December 7 is the first and most effective international instrument calling on Azerbaijan to prevent any damage to the Armenian cultural heritage that came under its control as a result of the war.
  • The intentional destruction of cultural heritage has been linked to racial discrimination and thus to increased international opportunities to protect endangered heritage;
  • It is a message to nation-states (Azerbaijan) that sovereignty does not give government privileges to destroy cultural heritage, thereby creating a new way to deal with such vicious behavior.

Lear more about the decision of the Hague Court here.

Group of the academic platform https://monumentwatch.org/

 

Hamlet Petrosyan, Nzhdeh Yeranyan․ “The Monumental Culture of Artsakh”

We are glad to inform that the research "The monumental culture of Artsakh" by Hamlet Petrosyan and Nzhdeh Yeranyan has been published. The book presents the monumental culture of Artsakh, including old, antique, early Christian monuments, khachkars and tombstones, by historical source study, architectural, pictorial and semantic examination. The problems of ethno-religious affiliation of these monuments are explained and reasoned in detail. The Azerbaijani falsifications on the monumental culture of Artsakh are presented and denied by the examination of documentary evidence. The research has been published with the support of the Armenian General Benevolent Union.

“Cultural heritage of Artsakh under attack” by Hamlet Petrosyan and Haykuhi Muradyan

We are glad to inform you, that the research “Cultural heritage of Artsakh under attack” done by Hamlet Petrosyan and Haykuhi Muradyan  was published on the initiative of the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of the Artsakh Republic.
This introductory review presents policy of Azerbaijan during the Soviet period and years of independence, emphasizing the dangers of preserving the educational and cultural heritage under the control of Azerbaijan, caused due to the war unleashed by Azerbaijan on September 27, 2020, the cases of vandalism registered to the present day, and the current challenges of the Artsakh Republic aimed at preserving cultural heritage. The research was published in Armenian, English, Russian and French.
We would also like to inform you that the research of Hamlet Petrosyan and Nzhdeh Yeranyan "The monumental culture of Artsakh" is to be published in the coming days. Our special gratitude to the Artsakh Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church for supporting the printing work.

Hamlet Petrosyan։Cultural heritage of Artsakh under attack (article at https://gfbv-voices.org/)

“The Society for Threatened Peoples” (Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker / GfbV) is an international human rights organization with a consultative status at the UN. It was founded in 1968 as an organization aimed at preventing genocide. It is an online platform for the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples and publicizing protection issues. At the suggestion of the editorial board, on March 3, 2022, the article was published by Hamlet Petrosyan, dedicated to the Azerbaijani usurpation of Artsakh's cultural heritage. https://gfbv-voices.org/das-kulturerbe-von-arzach-unter-beschuss-was-tun/.