On the occasion of the Universal Day of Culture, the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Artsakh Republic Gegham Stepanyan sent a message to the international community, urging to take steps to protect the cultural heritage in Artsakh.
“Today is the Universal Day of Culture, and now I am standing next to one of the most important Armenian cultural monuments in Artsakh, Amaras Monastery, a monastery that dates back to the 4th century. Amaras is one of the thousands of monuments that prove the centuries-long Armenian existence in Artsakh,” the Ombudsman said.
He noted that the war provoked by Azerbaijan against the people of Artsakh in September 2020 and its aftermath put the Armenian cultural property of the region into a real threat.
“We were able to save Amaras, yet thousands of monuments were left out of our control. And now we witness the barbaric treatment of our cultural monuments by the Azerbaijanis. They vandalize, desecrate, dishonor, destruct the Armenian churches, cross-stones (khachkars), monuments, cemeteries, and sanctuaries,” Gegham Stepanyan said.
He reminded that the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict highlights that damage to the cultural property of any nation equally applies to all humanity.
“And yes, the civilized world is responsible for the preservation of the Armenian culture. Unfortunately, to date, no steps have been taken in this direction due to artificial obstacles created by Azerbaijan. On this important day devoted to the preservation of culture, from this holy place, I would like to once again appeal to the international community, to all the stakeholder organizations and individuals who struggle for the preservation of cultural property: don’t be indifferent to the crimes committed against the Armenian culture,” the Human Rights Defender stated.
“Take this message as an alarm to ignore any political obstacle that may hinder the protection of the cultural rights of the people of Artsakh. Make your step to save the centuries-old Armenian culture, which belongs not only to Armenians but to the whole humanity,” he concluded.