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The deliberate destruction by Azerbaijani military forces of Armenian churches and other religious locations, including after the November 2020 cease-fire

Written declaration No. 722 | Doc. 15281 | 11 May 2021

Mr Markus WIECHEL, Sweden, EC/DA ; Mr Sos AVETISYAN, Armenia, SOC ; Mr Jason AZZOPARDI, Malta, EPP/CD ; Mr Alexander CHRISTIANSSON, Sweden, EC/DA ; Ms Kamila GASIUK-PIHOWICZ, Poland, EPP/CD ; Ms Tatevik HAYRAPETYAN, Armenia, EPP/CD ; Mr Hovhannes IGITYAN, Armenia, ALDE ; Mr Arin KARAPET, Sweden, EPP/CD ; Mr Tomasz LATOS, Poland, EC/DA ; Mr Edmon MARUKYAN, Armenia, ALDE ; Mr Mikayel MELKUMYAN, Armenia, EC/DA ; Mr Arkadiusz MULARCZYK, Poland, EC/DA ; Ms Snježana NOVAKOVIĆ BURSAĆ, Bosnia and Herzegovina, NR ; Mr Ulrich OEHME, Germany, EC/DA ; Mr Paulo PISCO, Portugal, SOC ; Mr Jacek PROTASIEWICZ, Poland, EPP/CD ; Mr Ruben RUBINYAN, Armenia, EPP/CD ; Mr Birgir THÓRARINSSON, Iceland, EPP/CD ; Mr Vladimir VARDANYAN, Armenia, EPP/CD ; Ms Naira ZOHRABYAN, Armenia, EC/DA

We, the undersigned, declare the following:

We recall the Council of Europe’s vital mission of preserving Europe’s outstanding architectural heritage, as manifested in several conventions over decades, such as the 1985 Granada Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe. In this treaty, which has been ratified by nearly all Council of Europe member States including Azerbaijan and Armenia, the parties undertake to “prevent the disfigurement, dilapidation or demolition of protected properties”, including places of worship.

We are therefore dismayed that, this notwithstanding, Azerbaijani military forces, possibly aided by special Turkish troops, have deliberately destroyed several churches and other locations of a Christian character in areas surrendered by Armenia to Azerbaijan, even after the November 2020 cease-fire in the conflict between the two sides over the Nagorno-Karabakh territory and certain other nearby areas.

We call on the Azerbaijani authorities and any others concerned to avoid any further violation of the Council of Europe’s Granada Convention, in the interest of reduced tensions in the region, and a better context for peaceful religious coexistence and development.