>Official>Appeal of the International Center of the Roerichs about the Destruction of Cultural Heritage Sites during the Karabakh Armed Conflict

Appeal of the International Center of the Roerichs about the Destruction of Cultural Heritage Sites during the Karabakh Armed Conflict

the President of The Republic of Azerbaijan
Ilham Aliyev

the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia
Nikol Pashinyan

Dear Mr. Aliyev and Mr. Pashinyan!

An armed conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh that started on 27 September 2020 has resulted in the damage and destruction of cultural property, including historic monuments. This is raising a great concern. The parties to the conflict are not the only ones to suffer losses. The above-mentioned destructions are a loss of cultural heritage, Beauty and Knowledge for the whole humanity.

The International Centre of the Roerichs (an international non-governmental organization, Moscow) strongly condemns such hostile actions against cultural heritage and urges all parties to respect strictly the international humanitarian law considering cultural heritage protection in the event of armed conflict.

The Republic of Azerbaijan and The Republic of Armenia are the Signatory Parties to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. Both ratified the 1999 Second Protocol to the Convention. The international obligations undertaken by the parties to the conflict oblige them to protect cultural property and prevent any hostile actions against it.

Numerous cases of serious damage and destruction of educational institutions in a war zone have been reported. We urge both parties to the conflict to respect the provisions of the Geneva Conventions and the 1977 Protocols to the latter, which demand that all necessary measures aimed at the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure, including schools and scientific institutions, are taken.

The modern system of the international law on cultural heritage protection is based on the Roerich Pact, which was presented by an outstanding Russian artist, scientist and philosopher Nicholas Roerich, and was signed in Washington (the USA) in 1935. The Roerich Pact implies unconditional protection of historic monuments, museums, cultural, artistic, scientific and educational institutions and its personnel in the event of armed conflict and in peacetime.

The last historical period fully proved the great importance of the ideas embodied in the Roerich Pact and its distinctive flag The Banner of Peace, aimed at the protection of cultural heritage from destruction. The history shows that all wars end and the one who was destroying cultural heritage of any nation is always remembered by the humanity as one of disgraceful destroyers, while the protection of cultural heritage during armed conflicts has always been the best ground for the future mutual understanding, respect and peaceful cultural cooperation between all nations.

Dear Mr. President of The Republic of Azerbaijan,

Dear Mr. President of The Republic of Armenia,

We strongly believe that you share the ideas considering cultural heritage protection as a path to the mutual understanding and peace. We call on you, the Presidents of the countries of great ancient cultures, to use all your authority to prevent the destruction of priceless historic monuments and other cultural heritage of your nation and those of the belligerent party and to go down in history as the creators and protectors of the sacred principles of life.

Sincerely yours,
Vice President of INGO
The International Center of the Roerichs
Alexander Stetsenko
View Fullscreen