Detail from a khatchkar at Dadivank Monastery (Photo by Heather Krafian)
Over the last couple of weeks, we have shared statements and petitions made by our colleagues in the cultural heritage world, as a way of showing our members that there is great support for the protection of Armenian heritage currently under threat in Artsakh. This public outcry continues.In a November 19 statement, the Getty Trust stated that “[d]eliberate physical attacks on cultural heritage are often figurative assaults on the people who identify with that heritage.” While individuals may no longer be in the line of fire, the history and heritage of an entire nation is as Azerbaijan continues to threaten the existence and interpretation of Armenian historical sites.
We stand with the Getty and their work on “Cultural Heritage under Siege” which offers a guide to protecting cultural heritage in areas of armed and political combat. Our work to collect, preserve, and promote Armenian culture is born out of a history of conflict that has resulted in the destruction of Armenian heritage and its physical representations.
On November 18, the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, met with representatives of Armenia and Azerbaijan. At this meeting she “recalled provisions of the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, to which Armenia and Azerbaijan are parties: ‘damage to cultural property belonging to any people whatsoever means damage to the cultural heritage of all mankind.’”
She cited UN Security Council resolution 2347 (2017), which stresses that “the unlawful destruction of cultural heritage, looting and smuggling of cultural property in the event of armed conflict, including by terrorist groups, and attempts to deny historical roots and cultural diversity in this context, can fuel and exacerbate conflicts.”