Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry reveals number of historical monuments destroyed by Armenia during Karabakh war
Azerbaijan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued an appeal on occasion of April 18 - International Day for Monuments and Historic Sites.
According to the statement, April 18 is celebrated as the International Day for Monuments and Sites.
"On this occasion, Azerbaijan repeats its grave concern regarding the destruction of its cultural heritage by Armenia in the Azerbaijani liberated territories. Almost all historical, cultural and religious monuments were completely destroyed during the period of occupation. As of today, the Ministry of Culture of Azerbaijan has identified more than 400 monuments that have been destroyed in the Azerbaijani liberated territories. The total number of the monuments in these territories is up to 3,000," the ministry stressed.
The ministry noted that cultural and religious property belonging to Azerbaijan has been looted, desecrated, altered and illegally exported to Armenia. "22 museums and museum branches with over 100,000 artefacts in the liberated territories have been destroyed. Artefacts and ancient manuscripts of 13th century Khudavang monastery situated in Kalbajar district, as well as precious artefacts found during illegal archaeological excavations near Shahbulag fortress of Aghdam district were illegally transported to Armenia. Besides that, illegal excavations have been conducted in Azikh cave in Azikh village of Khojavand region," the statement reads.
"All of these actions constitute to a gross violation of international humanitarian law, including the UNESCO standard setting instruments, such as 1954 Hague Convention and its two protocols, as well as the 1970 Convention," the Azerbaijani diplomats said.
"Regretfully, Azerbaijan's appeals to the relevant international organizations to investigate war crimes including the deliberate destruction, misappropriation, alteration of Azerbaijani cultural heritage, as well as illicit removal of Azerbaijani cultural properties by Armenia have been ignored throughout the 30-year-long occupation. Azerbaijan welcomes the interest now being shown in this respect," the added.
"The cultural heritage situated in Azerbaijan, regardless of its origin, whether secular or religious, reflects the cultural diversity of the people of Azerbaijan, which Azerbaijan values and protects. Ensuring that the unprecedented damage inflicted on Azerbaijani cultural heritage is fully assessed by an independent technical mission stands as a priority for the Government of Azerbaijan and Azerbaijan is closely cooperating with UNESCO in this regard," the appeal reads.