European Parliament Accuses Azerbaijan in Violating UNESCO World Heritage Convention

The European Parliament resolution on the European Neighbourhood Policy (2004/2166(INI)) “[c]alls on the Azerbaijani authorities to put an end the demolition of medieval Armenian cemeteries and historic carved stone crosses in southern Nakhichevan, which is in breach of the terms of its 1993 ratification of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention.”

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Approved on 19 January 2006, the response to the Azerbaijani vandalism condemns the destruction of the last monuments of the ancient Armenian cemetery of Old Julfa (Hin Jugha). The resolution also reminds Azerbaijan that the latter ratified the UNESCO World Heritage Convention in 1993, which prohibits vandalism against world heritage monuments.

About 100 soldiers of the Azerbaijani army destroyed the last traces of the beautifully carved headstones of Old Julfa in December of 2005. The video of the destruction is available at

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The ancient Armenian cemetery of Old Julfa was a world-known cultural treasure containing thousands of medieval headstones. The Azerbaijani government destroyed most of these headstones in the early 2000s, and the final destruction was accomplished in December of 2005.

Despite undeniable evidence and criticism from around the world, the Azerbaijani government has continuously denied destroying the Christian headstones of Old Julfa. UNESCO has not addressed the vandalism.

The European Parliament resolution is available at…P&L=EN&LSTDOC=N.