We, the representatives of NGOs, have repeatedly appealed to UNESCO to inform you about the cultural genocide committed by Armenia against the heritage of the Azerbaijani people. As a result of a deliberate policy pursued by Armenia, the centuries-old cultural heritage of our people in the territory of Armenia is facing the threat of complete extermination.
The cultural genocide committed by Armenia was accompanied by a policy of ethnic cleansing against Azerbaijanis. As a result of the mass deportation of Azerbaijanis from their native lands in present-day Armenia, which began in the early 20th century, there were no Azerbaijanis left in Armenia. As a consequence of the last deportation in 1988 alone, more than 250,000 Azerbaijanis were expelled from their native lands and became refugees.
Thus, by pursuing a policy of both ethnic and cultural genocide, Armenia has deliberately erased all traces of Azerbaijanis, the historical and ancient inhabitants of these territories, perpetrated plunder, destroyed, embezzled and changed the cultural heritage of the Azerbaijani people. At the same time, ancient place names in these areas were replaced with Armenian ones.
We provided a number of precise facts in our earlier appeals to UNESCO. For example, along with other facts, we have emphasized that the Blue Mosque, the Gala Mosque, the Shah Abbas Mosque, the Tapabashi Mosque, the Zal Khan Mosque, the Sartib Khan Mosque, the Haji Novruzali Bey Mosque, the Damirbulagh Mosque, the Haji Jafar Bey Mosque, the Rajab Pasha Mosque, the Mohammad Sartib Khan Mosque, the Haji Inam Mosque and more than 300 other mosques located in Armenia were deliberately destroyed, appropriated or used for other purposes in the early 20th century. Only the Damirbulagh Mosque functioned as intended until 1988, but it has now been completely demolished and replaced by a high-rise building.
More than 500 Azerbaijani cemeteries in Armenia, such as Aghadada, Ashaghi Shorja, Gullubulagh and Saral have been destroyed. The tomb of great Azerbaijani poet Ashig Alasgar, whose tombstone was erected in his native village in the ancient Goycha district, was also destroyed.
In general, Armenia has deliberately destroyed thousands of cultural heritage sites of the Azerbaijani people on its territory. This is a clear example of the Armenia’s intolerance of the Azerbaijani people, as well as an insult to all humanity.
This is evidence of the fact that Armenia does not recognize any universal values. The fact that Armenia committed all these illegal acts and acts of vandalism with impunity for decades sends a wrong message to the world community. The world community should understand that such steps represent a state policy in Armenia and take steps against it.
For this purpose, the existing tools of international law should be deployed. In particular, the deliberate destruction, distortion and appropriation of cultural sites is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, in particular the 1949 Geneva Convention and the 1954 and 1970 UNESCO Conventions. These are war crimes. The deliberate destruction of cultural heritage is also a matter of peace and security, as defined by UN Security Council Resolution 2347 adopted in 2017.
Based on all this, we requested that you send an expert group to Armenia to assess the current state of the centuries-old cultural and historical heritage of the Azerbaijani people. Unfortunately, Armenia has opposed such a mission in order to keep its insidious and illegal actions secret.
However, as a result of a video conference between the leaders of Azerbaijan, France, Armenia and the President of the European Council on 4 February 2022, agreement was reached that a UNESCO mission would be delegated to Armenia and Azerbaijan. This news inspired and prompted us to address your again.
We do hope that Armenia, which took this a commitment upon itself, does not hinder the realization of the UNESCO mission, and as a result of the objective report of this mission, the whole world will be made aware of the actions committed against the centuries-old heritage of the Azerbaijani people. Armenia will be held accountable for its actions.
In addition to the address, we are attaching a list of immovable cultural heritage sites appropriated by Armenia for your kind attention.
This appeal was signed by the following NGO heads:
1. Faig Ismayilov – "Organization for the Protection of Historical and Cultural Monuments in the Occupied Territories of Azerbaijan" Public Union
2. Fariz Khalilli – "MIRAS" Social Organization in Support of Studying of Cultural Heritage
3. Rauf Zeyni – National NGO Forum of Azerbaijan
4. Azar Aliyev – National Assembly of Youth Organizations of the Republic of Azerbaijan
5. Garay Alibayov – “Cultural Development Center" Public Union
6. Bayimkhanim Verdiyeva – “The Khan Shushinski” Foundation
7. Tural Ganjaliyev – “Return to Karabakh" Public Union
8. Aziz Alakbarli – Azerbaijan Refugee Society
9. Tahir Amiraslanov – “Azerbaijan National Culinary Association” Public Union
10. Shalala Hasanova – “Support to the Development of Public Relations” Public Union
11. Ilgar Orujov – “Azerbaijan Society of Young Scientists, Postgraduates and Masters” Public Union
12. Shahla Naghiyeva – “Unquenchable Flame” Cultural Relations Public Union
13. Shamistan Alizamanli - “Support for the Promotion of Patriotism” Public Union
14. Nuraddin Mehdiyev – “Bizim Nesil" Youth Regional Development Public Union
15. Bahar Gasimova – “Azerbaijan Women’s Republican Society” Public Union
16. Davud Rahimli – Union of Disabled Persons Organizations
17. Fakhraddin Hasanzade – “Youth Education Center” Public Union
18. Fuad Mammadov – “Simurg” Azerbaijan Cultural Association Public Union
19. Mehri Khanbabayeva – “Azerbaijan Historians” Public Union
20. Haji Abdulla – “Zangazur” Societies Public Union
21. Nasiman Yagublu - Support for History and Press Studies Public Union;
22. Rena Mirzazade – Gender and Human Rights Research Public Union
23. Mehriban Zeynalova - “Clean World” Aid to Women Public Union
24. Novella Jafarova – “Association for the Protection of Women's Rights named after Dilara Aliyeva” Public Union
25. Saadat Bananyarli – “Azerbaijan National Section of International Society for Human Rights” Public Union
26. Saltanat Gojamanli – “Protection of Human Rights and Law Order” Public Union
27. Yusif Aghayev – “Friendship" Youth Coordination Center Public Union
28. Khatira Valiyeva – “Khankandi” Support to IDP’s Public Union
29. Sabuhi Abdullayev – “ELM” Support for Social and Intellectual Development of Youth Public Union
30. Samad Hatamov – “Return to the Native Lands” Public Union