Dear Colleagues, today the premeditated elimination of the cultural heritage and the illegal trafficking is more than a topical problem, as what the Daesh has done and still continues to do in Iraq and in Syria, is a cultural massacre. I join the author of the report Stefan Schennach and call on the member states of the Council of Europe, who have not yet signed and ratified the Convention on the Crime towards the Cultural Values in the Member States of the Council of Europe , considered it a prior agenda item, as well as ratified the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Cultural Values during the Armed Conflicts.
What Daesh has done and continues doing on the territories under control: plundering, destroying and selling the cultural heritage, is the third source of the international terrorism revenue after the illegal sale of the weapon and drugs. Nevertheless, dear Colleagues, once again I would like to address a question from this tribune to you, and the answer to the question had not been given yet. Where were you? And where was the international public, when the vandals not less than the Daesh began consistently eliminating the Armenian historical cemetery from 1998 being in Jugha/Julfa Province of Nakhijevan? In 2005 already the ancient cemetery, which was one of the unique cultural values of the mankind, the Azerbaijani servicemen not only flattened it, but turned it into a military base. Through seven years the Azerbaijani vandals not only flattened the unique cross-stones of Jugha historical cemetery, but they also destroyed the Saviour Monastery of 9th – 12th centuries, Pombloz Chapel, Surb St Mary Church and other cultural monuments. The goal of Azerbaijan was to completely eliminate the Armenian trace, afterwards with the cynicism characteristic to re-proofread the history.
Dear Colleagues, I would like to remind you that still in 2007 the visit of PACE Observation Mission to Nakhijevan and Nagorno Karabakh should take place, however because of Azerbaijani blackmail the visit failed. Both, our Assembly and the European Parliament besides recording that unprecedented fact of vandalism have not taken any practical and concrete step in order such other atrocities never take place and a whole nation’s cultural legacy would not be destroyed before the civilized mankind’s eye.
Dear Colleagues, because of declarative announcements and silence of the international community one of the most wonderful monuments of mankind, the Jugha cross-stones, was destroyed. Now, in that territory is the Azerbaijani raiders’ shooting ground. At this moment, when we discuss this report, every minute cultural massacre takes place on this and that point of the world. I don’t want that tomorrow we again gather and, as it happened in Jugha, we’ll say that, unfortunately, again we were late.