BAKU, Azerbaijan, Feb. 3
UNESCO’s reaction gives the impression that Christian monuments are more important than Muslim and Jewish ones, Arye Gut, who is a political analyst that focuses on Israeli-Azerbaijan relations that heads the Azerbaijan House in Israel said, Trend reports citing the Jewish Press.
Gut argued that UNESCO does not care about all of the Azerbaijani mosques that were transformed by the Armenian authorities into stables for pigs and cows in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
At the same time, Gut noted that when there are no grounds, “some, including the leadership of UNESCO, are ‘very worried’ about the fate of Christian monuments in the territories liberated by Azerbaijan: “Azerbaijan, as a multicultural and tolerant country, ensures the protection of all cultural and religious monuments on its territory – whether Muslim, Jewish, or Christian.”
Several publications about Armenia’s occupation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region have been prepared. “For example, in 2007, the book “War against Azerbaijan – an attack on cultural heritage” was prepared and presented to UNESCO. It contains a list of the cultural and religious monuments destroyed by Armenia in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, detailing information about their deliberate Armenization, presenting Albanian churches as Armenian. However, there was no adequate response from UNESCO.”
The mission established by UNESCO and some states after Azerbaijan’s victory raises a number of questions for Azerbaijan: “Why hasn’t UNESCO sent a mission before? Why did UNESCO not react when mosques were destroyed in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan when pigs and cows were kept in them?”
“UNESCO’s reaction gives the impression that Christian monuments are more important than Muslim and Jewish ones,” Gut added. “This indicates that while all religious and cultural monuments, regardless of their affiliation, should be protected, UNESCO and some political circles openly show discrimination on religious grounds. All of this is a clear example of political hypocrisy and double standards. It is obvious that the new reality that has emerged in the South Caucasus region because of the Azerbaijani victory worries many that cannot come to terms with this.”
“It is regrettable that UNESCO, either purposefully or unwittingly, has become involved in these processes,” he added. “UNESCO is an intergovernmental organization and must carry out its activities in accordance with its mandate in an objective and impartial manner. UNESCO officials should not promote the national agenda of the states of which they are citizens. UNESCO should not turn into an instrument of the political influence of this or that state. This deals a tangible blow to her image and independence. Protecting cultural heritage is a universal human obligation and should not be used for political purposes. Azerbaijan’s position is fair and constant. That is, Azerbaijan, both yesterday and today, does not oppose the organization of a UNESCO mission. When security conditions permit, a clear mandate and composition of the mission should be agreed upon between Azerbaijan and UNESCO. It is necessary to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan.”
It should be stressed that Azerbaijan did not respond to this perceived bias by withdrawing from UNESCO. According to Arye Gut, Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Culture is presently preparing a report on the status of all the cultural heritage sites in the Nagorno-Karabakh region (which is internationally recognized Azerbaijani territory) that were completely plundered and destroyed during 28 years of the Armenian occupation of the area. Baku plans to submit it to UNESCO so that Armenia will be forced to give a response for what they have done.