Council of Europe Committee Discusses Destruction of Armenian Cemetery in Azerbaijan

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Armenia’s permanent representative to the Council of Europe–Ambassador Kristian Ter-Stepanian–urged the Committee of Ministers of Europe’s largest human rights body to intervene and stop the ongoing destruction of Armenian monumen’s in neighboring Azerbaijan.

Ter-Stepanian drew the Committee’s attention to the destruction of an old Armenian cemetery in Azerbaijan’s enclave of Nakhichevan when it met on February 1 to discuss–among other issues–a written inquiry about the matter by Armenian lawmaker Shavarsh Kocharian–former member of the Armenian delegation to PACE.

The Armenian ambassador said that Azerbaijan’s actions not only violate human dignity and collective memory–but they also go against one of the basic tenets of the Council of Europe–preservation of its member countries’ cultural legacy.

The ambassador said that an extensive range of photo and video materials show clearly that the barbaric acts were ordered by the authorities of Azerbaijan.

He said the only international organization to react to reports that the Armenian cemetery was being destroyed was the European parliament–which passed a resolution on January 19 asking Azeri authorities to put an end to the destruction of cross-stones (khatchkars) in the cemetery.

Kristian Ter-Stepanian expressed his regret that at a time when the international community was celebrating the 50th anniversary of the European Cultural Convention–one of its member nations was destroying the monumen’s of the other one.

He also urged the European organization to dispatch a team of experts to evaluate the degree of destruction on the ground.

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