By Laman Ismayilova
The Azerbaijan National Committee of ICOM (International Council of Museums) continues to inform the world community about Armenian vandalism on Azerbaijan's territories.
The committee calls on international organizations to give a legal assessment of the destruction of Azerbaijan's historical and cultural sites by Armenia.
Speaking about the Armenian vandalism, chairman of the ICOM Azerbaijan Shirin Malikova turned to international organizations.
" Armenia, which has for many years pursued a policy of ethnic cleansing against the Azerbaijani people, not only tried to appropriate our lands, but also deliberately destroyed our cultural heritage and architectural monuments, falsified historical facts, disseminated false information, illegally exported museum exhibits, etc. The ICOM Azerbaijan National Committee collects all available facts on these issues, reports are prepared on their basis and sent to the appropriate structures, " she told Trend Life.
Since the beginning of the second Karabakh war, ICOM Azerbaijan has issued four statements on the protection of cultural heritage.
"The first statement, made on October 1, 2020, reports on hundreds of cultural institutions that have been vandalized on Azerbaijan's occupied territories as a result of Armenian aggression. The statement calls on the world community to put an end to this barbarism," said Malikova.
The statement was sent to the ICOM leadership, its national and international committees and regional alliances as well as to Azerbaijani embassies abroad and the culture ministries of other countries.
It was also published on the official website of the ICOM Azerbaijan National Committee.
The ICOM Azerbaijan chairman stressed that historical and cultural sites were seriously damaged as a result of the missile attacks on Ganja city.
The statement of October 13 contains a list of those objects, as well as an appeal to the relevant organizations, including the UN to condemn the terrorist acts committed by the Armenian armed forces.
It was noted that Armenia violated the 1999 Protocol (of which Armenia is a signatory), the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and the 1992 European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage. As a result, illegal excavations were carried out in the 18th century Shahbulag fortress near Aghadam region. Archaeological finds discovered in the historical site were illegally exported as well.
The next statement dated on November 16 lists all the above facts and calls on international organizations, in particular UNESCO and ICOM, to give a legal assessment of the illegal export of Azerbaijan's cultural heritage.
In its last statement dated on November 20, ICOM Azerbaijan presented a list of destroyed and seriously damaged national, historical and cultural monuments in Azerbaijan's occupied territories and called Metropolitan Museum to avoid the one-sided position.
Malikova praised the fair position of some ICOM committees on the above statements.
"ICOM of Bosnia and Herzegovina, ICOM Turkey, ICOM US, ICOM Peru and ICOM Ethnographic Museums supported the ICOM Azerbaijan National Committee by sharing our statements on their pages on social networks. In addition, ICOM Azerbaijan received a letter of support from the ICOM Mongolia and ICOM Peru. The ICOM committees of both countries expressed confidence that the horrifying and unceasing Armenian aggression should be condemned by the international community and called on international organizations to intervene to resolve this problem. In addition, the coordinator of the ICOM Heritage Department Elsa Urtizverea sent a letter to the ICOM National Committee asking if any museum in the region was damaged and expressing willingness to provide assistance if necessary. The International Council of Museums (ICOM) issued a statement strongly condemning the destruction of cultural heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh," said Malikova.
The ICOM chairperson also spoke about the upcoming meeting with the participation of the two chairmen of the Disaster Risk Management Committee (DRMC), as well as with the head of the Department of Heritage Protection and Capacity Building.
The meeting will be focused on Azerbaijan's destroyed museums and looted exhibits. The meeting participants will also touch upon the forming of a working group to jointly study these problems at the international level.
Being a public organization, ICOM Azerbaijan unites the country's museums, science, culture and art figures as well as all those directly connected with the museum work.
ICOM Azerbaijan was established by the Azerbaijan Culture Ministry in 1993. From its first days, Azerbaijani museums created close relationships with the world’s museums in order to popularize the country's cultural heritage.
For this purpose, representatives from such national museum institutions as the Azerbaijani State Museum of Arts, the National Carpet Museum, the Samad Vurgun House-Museum, the Shirvanshahs Palace, the Architectural Reserve Museum, the State Museum of Musical Culture and the Art Gallery have participated in conferences, workshops, training sessions etc in Paris, Stavanger, Melbourne, Barcelona, Seoul, Washington, Shanghais, Vienna, Nairobi, Abidjan, Edinburgh, Naphplion, Barbados, Moscow, and St.-Petersburg.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lamiva993
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