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European Parliament “Strongly Condemns” Azerbaijan’s Destruction of Armenian Heritage

European Parliament “Strongly Condemns” Azerbaijan’s Destruction of Armenian Heritage

European Parliament “Strongly Condemns” Azerbaijan’s Destruction of Armenian Heritage

On March 10, the European Parliament adopted a decision that “strongly condemns” Azerbaijan’s intentional destruction of Armenian cultural heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh (or Artsakh in Armenian).

The decision was adopted with 635 votes to 2, with 42 abstentions, and with sponsorship by six of the seven teams of the European Parliament, apart from the Identification and Democracy Get together, a nationalist far-right group that mockingly purports to “defend Christian heritage.” It learn:

“The erasure of Armenian cultural heritage is a part of a wider sample of a scientific, state-level coverage of Armenophobia, historic revisionism and hatred in direction of Armenians promoted by the Azerbaijani authorities, together with dehumanisation, the glorification of violence and territorial claims towards the Republic of Armenia which threaten peace and safety within the South Caucasus.” 

Azerbaijan’s “continued coverage of erasing and denying the Armenian cultural heritage” within the space of Nagorno-Karabakh, the decision added, violates worldwide regulation and a 2021 determination by the Worldwide Court docket of Justice (ICJ) ordering Azerbaijan to “forestall and punish” the vandalism and desecration of Armenian church buildings, monuments, landmarks, cemeteries, and artifacts.

The decision got here a number of weeks after Azerbaijan’s Minister of Tradition, Anar Karimov, introduced a working group of specialists to “take away the fictional traces written by Armenians,” in reference to Azerbaijan’s debunked claims that the founding inscriptions on Armenian medieval church buildings and monuments, written within the Armenian language, are latest additions. (The minister later tamed his assertion, saying the group will “research historical Albanian heritage” in Nagorno-Karabakh and look at “alterations on the historic and cultural heritage.”) 

Azerbaijani forces bombed the Holy Savior Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shushi twice in 2020, inflicting harm to its crosses, pointed domes (a staple of Armenian church structure), and angel reliefs. (through Wikimedia Commons)  

The priority for Nagorno-Karabakh’s cultural heritage is grave, since Azerbaijan, with the assistance of its ally Turkey, launched a warfare of conquest in late 2020, which noticed assaults on civilian infrastructures, comparable to faculties, houses, and a maternity hospital, along with spiritual and cultural heritage, comparable to church buildings and archaeological websites. For the reason that November 2020 ceasefire, which resulted within the handover of a lot of the Armenian-populated Republic of Artsakh’s territory to Azerbaijan’s management, Azerbaijan has reportedly continued to destroy and vandalize Armenian cultural heritage, whereas additionally refusing entry to spiritual websites to Armenians in search of to worship there. After the Russian-brokered ceasefire, Azerbaijan and Turkey held a joint army “victory” parade within the capital metropolis of Baku, throughout which they set their sights past Nagorno-Karabakh and laid declare to Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, whereas additionally blessing the souls of the architects of the Armenian Genocide. Azerbaijan’s president then inaugurated a army “victory” museum, with wax mannequins depicting chained and injured Armenian prisoners of warfare (that Azerbaijan claims it doesn’t have).

Azerbaijan’s destruction of Armenian cultural heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh just isn’t unprecedented. In Nakhichevan, an exclave of Azerbaijan that has been ethnically cleansed of its Armenian inhabitants, there have been no penalties for Azerbaijan’s destruction within the early 2000s of 89 medieval Armenian church buildings, 5,840 intricate cross-stone monuments, and 22,000 tombstones, as revealed by Simon Maghakyan and Sarah Pickman on Hyperallergic.

As was the case with Nakhichevan, UNESCO has did not ship an unbiased fact-finding mission to Nagorno-Karabakh to survey the standing of cultural heritage properties due to Azerbaijan’s refusal. The European Parliament’s decision references this refusal and “[s]trongly insists that Azerbaijan allow UNESCO to have entry to the heritage websites within the territories underneath its management.”

Sadly, for each the folks and the cultural heritage of Nagorno-Karabakh, it seems that their destiny is intertwined with the nationwide and regional pursuits of different gamers, specifically the EU and its urgent want for an alternative choice to Russian oil and pure gasoline.

In February, information emerged that the EU allotted a €2 billion assist package deal to Azerbaijan, because it seeks to extend the latter’s export capabilities of its oil and pure gasoline.

Shortly after securing the help package deal from the EU, petrol-rich Azerbaijan then signed an alliance with Russia on February 22. Paragraph 40 of Azerbaijan and Russia’s “Declaration on Allied Interplay” references the obligation to guard and protect the cultural and spiritual heritage of “nationwide minorities residing within the territories of the Events,” although it’s unclear whether or not these protections would apply to Armenian heritage. Just a few days earlier, Russia’s second-largest oil producer, Lukoil, elevated its stake to 19.99% in Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz pure gasoline undertaking. The Trans Adriatic Pipeline, by which the EU seeks to extend its gasoline imports from non-Russian sources, originates in Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II discipline.

Thus, it’s telling that the European Parliament’s decision rejected the proposal by the Socialists & Democrats Group to “strictly situation” the €2 billion assist package deal on “Azerbaijan’s respect for its worldwide commitments on human rights, together with concerning the preservation and safety of the cultural and historic heritage on the territories underneath its management.”  

The decision did, nevertheless, name out Azerbaijan because the aggressor. That may be a notable departure from quite a few false equivalencies and “bothsidesism” rhetoric from different governmental and intergovernmental gamers, whose statements would have one assume that the Holy Savior Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shushi (a metropolis lately ethnically cleansed of Armenians for the second time in a century) one way or the other bombed itself. Twice.

On the time of the European Parliament’s decision, Azerbaijan had minimize off gasoline (wanted for warmth, cooking, and scorching water) to the remaining 120,000 inhabitants of the Republic of Artsakh, by tampering with a pipeline originating from Armenia however a part of which now passes by territory occupied by Azerbaijan. In line with the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Artsakh, Azerbaijani armed forces additionally opened hearth on a number of Armenian-populated villages on the very day of the decision’s announcement.

Days later, the gasoline provide was briefly restored, as United Nations representatives participated in an occasion in Shushi. It seems that whereas the UN can not ship an unbiased mission from UNESCO to evaluate the cultural heritage in Shushi, its representatives, together with Resident Coordinator Vladanka Andreeva can attend an occasion there to rejoice Azerbaijan underneath the UN flag. 

In an announcement to Hyperallergic, Armenia’s everlasting consultant to the UN, Mher Margaryan, stated of the March 18 ceremony: “We now have made it abundantly clear that any go to by the UN representatives to the Nagorno-Karabakh battle zone should be absolutely according to and in assist of the mediation efforts in direction of the peaceable settlement, and that such visits shouldn’t function an instrument of propaganda that seeks to legitimize makes an attempt to resolve battle by pressure.”

“Azerbaijan continues to resort to varied types of violent acts and provocations that search to disrupt normalcy of life in Nagorno-Karabakh, such because the deliberate disruption of the availability of pure gasoline amidst extreme climate circumstances,” Margaryan continued. “Equally disturbing are the makes an attempt to instrumentalize the problem of POWs and detainees, whose captivity Azerbaijan continues to disclaim, in addition to the shortage of goodwill to decide to the preservation of cultural heritage and to successfully deal with anti-Armenian rhetoric — all in defiance of the Provisional Measures issued by the Worldwide Court docket of Justice towards Azerbaijan as a matter of urgency on 7 December 2021.”

After the go to, which was devoted to the thirtieth anniversary of Azerbaijan’s UN membership, the nation reportedly stopped gasoline to Nagorno-Karabakh, as soon as once more, as temperatures dipped beneath freezing. Within the days that adopted, america Division of State stated it was “deeply involved in regards to the motion of Azerbaijani troops in Nagorno-Karabakh.” France additionally expressed its considerations and Russia urged Azerbaijan to drag again its troop and observe the ceasefire.

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