Politics 13:57 16/06/2023 Armenia

Christian Armenian sites in Nagorno-Karabakh on the verge of total extermination, envoy tells UN

Armenia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Mher Margaryan, delivered remarks at the UN General Assembly plenary debate under the agenda item 14: "Culture of Peace" on 14 June. Hs full statement is provided below.

"Mr. President,

Promotion and cultivation of dialogue, tolerance and non-discrimination lie at the core of human rights and human dignity, indispensable for building peaceful and inclusive societies. At the current difficult time in the history of humanity, fostering a culture that values peace, understanding and cooperation is of crucial importance, as intolerance, exclusion and discrimination, in their various forms and manifestations continue to introduce new lines of division and generate conflict in many parts of the world.

Unchecked military build-ups and escalations, accompanied with the promulgation of hate speech at the highest political level continue to persist, including in our immediate neighborhood.

Armenia welcomed the launch of the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech by the Secretary-General in 2019 and we encourage the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, as the UN Focal Point for the implementation of the strategy, to clearly identify the prevalent instances of hate speech, as it constitutes both trigger and an indicator of the risk of atrocity crimes.    As demonstrated so many times before, intolerance, cultivation of hate speech against national, ethnic and religious groups, if not properly addressed, can lead to genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Mr. President,

In promoting the culture of peace and protecting cultural heritage, an important and unique role is bestowed upon the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Armed conflicts and military actions can have devastating impact on objects of cultural heritage, which are of irreplaceable value to the entire mankind as unique expressions of history, identity and cultural memory. Today, the millennia-old Christian Armenian sites in Nagorno-Karabakh are on the verge of total extermination. Armenia’s deep concern in relation to the fate of the cultural property in Nagorno-Karabakh is also based on the previous history of total and intentional eradication of the Armenian heritage in Nakhijevan by Azerbaijan.

The destruction of the Armenian cultural heritage has been extensively monitored and reported, including through the use of modern digital technologies. In particular, satellite technology has been increasingly used to monitor and document efforts that seek to destroy or modify cultural sites. Cultural genocide perpetrated on the grounds of ethnic hatred and intent to destroy the traces of historical and civilizational presence of a particular nation is no longer a hearsay but a high-resolution imagery, offering material, factual evidence before the eyes of the international community.

Mr. President,

Armenia has consistently requested that a UNESCO fact-finding mission be deployed to Nagorno-Karabakh and the adjacent areas in order to help to preserve the vast and unique cultural heritage of the region, yet, the efforts of the international organizations for independent and impartial assessment of the facts on the ground have been continuously obstructed.

Those who disregard instances of cultural heritage erasure in the face of irrefutable evidence for the mere sake of the so-called neutrality need to be reminded that, more often than not, state-sponsored policies of hate crimes and violence against cultural and religious monuments come to be followed by other forms of atrocities. The late UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold once said that, I quote: “Never. Never “for the sake of peace and quiet,” deny your own experience or convictions” (end of quote). Culture of peace can only thrive where the rights to truth, justice and guarantees for non-recurrence have been enabled, which makes it a moral imperative for the international community to stand up for the values and convictions that unite us, the people.

Armenia remains committed to a strong and effective multilateral system, with the respect for human rights and the rule of law at the heart of it. We are determined to continue working towards justice, tolerance and non-discrimination, in line with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the values and goals of the Declaration and Programme of Action on the Culture of Peace.

Thank you."

Source Panorama.am
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