Acting Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Armenia Vahram Dumanyan has sent a letter to the Director-General of the UNESCO, expressing concern about the actions that Azerbaijan is carrying out at the Ghazanchetsots Holy Savior Cathedral in the city of Shushi of the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh Republic).
The Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport reports that the letter states that during the large-scale military aggression unleashed against Artsakh on September 27, 2020, among other war crimes, Azerbaijan deliberately targeted the Ghazanchetsots Holy Savior Cathedral, destroying one of the two domes of the cathedral, in violation of the Second Protocol to The Hague Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. Moreover, the several photos and videos circulating on the Internet prove that the cathedral was vandalized after the cessation of hostilities and that the Azerbaijani forces damaged the second dome.
Recently, Azerbaijan removed the dome of the cathedral with the pretext of “construction works”, in an attempt to change the historical and architectural integrity of the monument and distort its Armenian identity.
Dumanyan stressed that there are numerous grounds to believe that Azerbaijan is blocking the entrances to Armenian cultural heritage sites in a premeditated manner in order to conceal the war crimes that it has committed. Moreover, Azerbaijan is actively leading a policy of falsification of historical facts, referring to Armenian cultural heritage sites in Artsakh as “Caucasian Albanian”.
Highly appreciating the major role of the UNESCO in the protection of cultural heritage, the acting minister called on the Director-General to condemn the attempts to destroy and appropriate Armenian cultural heritage sites.