UNITED NATIONS—Armenia’s Representation to the United Nations, in cooperation with the Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Association of the Eastern United States, issued an appeal on Wednesday on the fifth anniversary of the destruction of Armenian monuments by the Azeri Army.
The dossier, which was prepared on December 9 and presented by Armenia’s Ambassador to the UN, Karen Nazaryan, also includes a 90-page bilingual (English and French) booklet detailing the history and cultural significance of the Armenian monuments in Djulfa.
Below is the text of the appeal:
The current Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan has been a historic part of the Armenian homeland for well over 2500 years. Its Armenian name translates into “the place of descent,” in reference to the landing of the Noah’s Ark on the adjacent Mount Ararat. It has been an integral part of Armenian life from as early as 521 B.C. and as late as the first Armenian Republic from till 1920.
The Armenian inhabitants of this region have witnessed many tragic event over their history, including their forced removal from their lands by Sassanid Persians in the fourth century A.D., the decision of the invading Arabs to force them to leave their lands by gathering several hundred Armenian nobles and their families, lock them up in churches and burn them alive, and crucify the rest.
Armenians of Nakhichevan were subjected to further bloodshed, culminating to the many wars and massacres of the World War I era, where Nakhichevan was placed under the control of the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan to appease and accommodate the Turkish government by the newly formed and relatively weak Soviet Russia.
While bloodshed and war stopped following the placement of Nakhichevan under Soviet rule, discrimination and economic pressure against the indigenous Armenian population went on as a systemic means to drive them out of their homeland.
The historic Armenian Cemetery in Djulfa, located at the southern tip of Nakhichevan near the Iranian border, traces its history from the 6th to the 17th centuries A.D., where more than ten thousand intricately carved cross stones (khatchkars in Armenian) marked the final resting place of the Armenian inhabitants of this area for well over one thousand years and represented different eras of Armenian history and presence in the area.
Unfortunately, the Armenophobic policies of the successive Azeri governments resulted in the destruction of greater than 80 percent of these historic landmarks by 1998, having gone as far as removing their remnants from the area via trains. In 1998, the inhumane process of defacement and destruction of the remaining khatchkars at the cemetery was accelerated by the Azeri government, resulting in further destruction of another 800 or so khatchkars. This new assault was only halted through intervention of the UNESCO and ICOMOS; however, the process was resumed in 2002 and culminated in the final destruction of the remaining khatchkars by the Azeri armed forces in December of 2005 and rolling of their remains into the Arax river.
To mark this solemn anniversary and to raise public awareness against the unrelenting assault of the Azeri propaganda machine on our cultural heritage and history, the Hamazkayin Eastern USA in collaboration with His Excellency, Ambassador Garen Nazarian, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Armenia to the United Nations, sent an open letter along with a copy of the recently published book “The Destruction of Jugha and the Entire Armenian Cultural Heritage in Nakhichevan,” to the UN delegations of over 170 nations.
We certainly hope that this communication will infuse reason and facts into the discourse and provide rational counter arguments against the voluminous Azeri government vitriol.