Doc. 9256

8 October 2001

Maintenance of historical and cultural heritage in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic

Motion for a recommendation

presented by Mr Galoyan and others

This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only

the members who have signed it

For political reasons Azerbaijan has often applied to various international organisations to discredit Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic through false documents, stating that as a consequence of the war the Armenians have destroyed many historical and cultural monuments, museums, etc. and that no steps have been taken to ensure the security of Azerbaijan's cultural identity in the so-called "occupied" territories.

The recent provocation is the document presented by the Azeri parliamentary delegation entitled "Seizure and destruction of Azerbaijani cultural heritage" to the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly signed mainly by Azeri and Turkish parliamentarians.

In this respect we should mention that the figure of 500 historical and cultural monuments contravenes reality, simply because by the decision number 145 of the Azeri government dated
27 April 1988 the number of monuments in Nagorno-Karabakh is put at 282. Besides Azerbaijan has never carried out a comprehensive and proper registration of monuments, which is not accidental. The historical monuments and Christian heritage in Karabakh and neighbouring liberated territories, being Armenian, were deprived of state care and during Azerbaijan's notorious rule were in a neglected state.

In the above-mentioned territories there are more than 10 000 historical and cultural monuments, which have nothing to do with the Azeri culture or history at all. They are all Armenian monuments whereas the number of historical monuments considered to be Azeri ones does not exceed five.

Thus, the appropriation of the Azeri cultural heritage is out of the question because it is impossible to appropriate something that does not exist.

Almost all Armenian Christian monuments (monasteries, churches, khachkars, [cross-stones] etc.) in conformity with the lists approved by the Azeri authorities and individual publications were presented as Caucasian Albanian (see Decision of the Council of Ministers of Az. SSR of 27 April 1988 number 145 D. Akhundov. "The architecture of Ancient and Early medieval Azerbaijan", Baku, 1986, pp.222-250 etc.). The khachkars, pure Christian monuments, are turned into "khachdashes", many others (khachkars, capitals of churches, stones with Armenian lithographs) were used as construction stones, etc.

Azerbaijan's policies have always been accompanied by the destruction of Armenian historical and cultural monuments in Azerbaijan's entire territory.

Among the most flagrant examples is the destruction of Zar (Tsar) monuments in the Kelbajar region, Dadivank, which "the local Muslim population regarded as remnants of the Armenian Christian religion and ruined the monastery as it could" (Iskander Haji "Lel-Kala - "A near and unavailable fortress", "Vishka", number 10, 16-23 March 2000).

In the meantime, President Aliev formulated their policy as follows: "In the future, too, we should create such works, so that they consistently prove the relevance of the lands to Azerbaijan, where Armenia now is. We should do that. We should pave the way for the future generations". ("Bakinski Rabochi", 11 February 1999).

In reality the mausoleum and burial mounds fell victim to the self-will of the Azeri authorities when the location extended to the territory of the monuments and their stones were used by the local Muslims for house construction. The Azeri cemetery now located on the mausoleums. The complaints of the Nagorno-Karabakh Union of the Protection of Monuments were of no help.

Meanwhile Shushi's Ghazanchetsots Cathedral-Church was transformed into a storehouse for "grad" missiles by the Azeri military. A great number of articles were written on this matter, the international community was informed thereon, too.

Due consideration for the Azokh cave together with other existing monuments in the territory of the Nogorno-Karabakh Republic as a valuable historical and cultural monument is a matter for the state’s protection and care.

Taking into account the above, the Assembly appeals to the Committee of Ministers to take the necessary steps in order to evaluate the situation of the Armenian historical and cultural heritage in the region, in compliance with the European Cultural Convention.

Signed : 1

Galoyan, Armenia, EPP/CD

Christodoulides, Cyprus, UEL

Demetriou, Cyprus, EPP/CD

Gaburro, Italy, EPP/CD

Gubert, Italy, EPP/CD

Hovhannisyan, Armenia, EDG

Ilaşcu, Romania, EDG

Manukyan, Armenia, UEL

Pavlidis, Greece, EPP/CD

Rogozin, Russia, EDG

Rustamyan, Armenia, SOC

Slutsky, Russia, SOC

Sudarenkov, Russia, SOC

Theodorou, Cyprus, SOC

Ustiugov, Russia, EPP/CD

Zhirinovsky, Russia, NR

1        SOC: Socialist Group