A group of protesters gathered outside the office of the United Nations in Armenia on Wednesday and demanded that the international community and the UN take decisive measures to prevent the destruction of Armenian cultural and religious monuments in Artsakh by Azerbaijan, Armenpress reported.
This comes as concerns have mounted and international condemnations have increased over Baku’s plan to set up a state commission to appropriate Armenian cultural and religious monuments and buildings across Artsakh’s occupied territories as having Albanian roots.
Gayane Abrahamyan, a former lawmaker and the representative of the For Equal Rights Educational Center, told reporters that the demonstration is organized by several NGOs and public figures.
“Azerbaijan is falsely claiming that the heritage which has been in Artsakh for centuries isn’t Armenian. This is a lie,” Abrahamyan said. “however the actions that they are carrying out for decades cause concern that one day we wont be able to counter these lies.”
“If we don’t fight against these lies now and don’t apply to all viable international organizations, namely UNESCO, we will simply lose the Armenianness of Artsakh, because the Azerbaijani authorities are trying to erase any trace of our existence. By doing so, they are trying to cancel the right to self-determination of Armenians and generally any aspirations in Artsakh,” Abrahamyan warned.
She reminded that the International Court of Justice ruled that Azerbaijan must take all necessary measures to prevent and punish acts of vandalism and desecration affecting Armenian cultural heritage, including but not limited to churches and other places of worship, monuments, landmarks, cemeteries and artifacts.
Abrahamyan said they will meet the UN Armenia Office administration after the demonstration. She said they had addressed a letter to UNESCO last week.
Anther member of the initiative, Seda Grigoryan, highlighted the need to ensure access of international monitoring groups to the territories which Azerbaijan captured during the war.
“According to the information I have the Armenian authorities are doing everything they can so that such groups are dispatched there, but Azerbaijan is denying access. International observers must go and see the monuments on the ground and document them,” she said.