YEREVAN (Yerkir)–Dozens of Azeri soldiers–armed with sledge hammers–are destroying the Old Jugha cemetery khachkars (cross-stones) that are still standing following a similar act in 2002–according to the Armenian Embassy in Tehran.
After the destruction–the khachkars are loaded on trucks and then dumped into the Arax river. The vandalism is yet another example of the Azeri government’s effort to destroy all traces of the Armenian people in Nakhichevan. This historically Armenian region was forcibly attached to Soviet Azerbaijan in 1921 and subsequently cleansed of its entire Armenian population.
A statement released by the embassy calls on Baku and Nakhichevan to immediately cease these actions. It also appeals to UNESCO and other international bodies to send a group of experts to the region to investigate the destruction and take appropriate measures. While Armenia has consistently welcomed monitoring groups–Azerbaijan has resisted.
According to the European Convention for The Protection of Architectural Heritage–all member countries inherit the responsibility to preserve cultural and historical monumen’s found on the territory of member states.
According to the same convention–if a country is found guilty of destroying cultural–historical monumen’s–they must be punished accordingly.