Deliberate destruction of cultural and religious sites characteristic of terrorist organizations – Artsakh MFA

The Artsakh Defense Ministry has strongly condemned the attack by the Azerbaijani armed forces on the Armenian Church of the Holy All-Savior (Ghazanchetsots), located in the city of Shushi of the Republic of Artsakh.

“We remind the Azerbaijani side that making historic monuments, works of art or places of worship which constitute the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples the object of attack manifests serious violation of both treaty and customary international humanitarian law, and destruction of cultural monuments as part of the conduct of hostilities constitutes a war crime,” the Ministry said.

“The deliberate destruction of historical, cultural and religious sites is a characteristic and notorious signature of international terrorist organizations. Suffice it to recall the destruction of the Buddha statues of Bamiyan by the Taliban, as well as the destruction of the Monumental Arch in Palmyra and the Armenian Church of Holy Martyrs in Deir ez-Zor by ISIS fighters in Syria,” it added.

“The attack on the Church of the Holy All-Savior in the city of Shushi demonstrates that the criminal triple alliance of Azerbaijan, Turkey and terrorist organizations, which unleashed an aggression against the Republic of Artsakh, are united not only by common goals, but also by a common system of values and criminal methods of warfare,” the statement reads.

“We reiterate, that the preservation of the cultural heritage is of great importance for all peoples of the world and damage to cultural property belonging to any people whatsoever means damage to the cultural heritage of all mankind. Along with adoption of numerous international conventions on the protection of cultural and historical heritage, the issue was also addressed at the level of the UN Security Council, which in its Resolution (No. 2347) on the inadmissibility of destruction of cultural property in the event of armed conflicts, notably by terrorist groups, called on all States to make collective and co-ordinated efforts to combat such practices,” teh Foreign Ministry stated.

It once again emphasized that under the circumstances of Azerbaijan’s open denial of the principles of humanity and universal values, the international recognition of the independence of the Republic of Artsakh is the most effective way to ensure the security of the people of Artsakh, the realization of their fundamental rights and the preservation of Artsakh’s cultural heritage.

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