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Azerbaijan Vandalizes and Destroys Artsakh Cemetery Using Construction Equipment

Azerbaijan Vandalizes and Destroys Artsakh Cemetery Using Construction Equipment

Azerbaijani forces have been caught on camera using construction equipment to demolish the cemetery of the historic Hin Shen village in the Shushi region of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). The destruction, part of a broader pattern, shows the systematic eradication of cultural heritage in Azerbaijani-occupied Artsakh.

Hovik Avanesov, the "Ombudsman of Culture of Hayk," brought attention to this alarming incident on Facebook, expressing deep concern over the ongoing cultural genocide orchestrated at the state level by Azerbaijan. Avanesov regularly documents instances of Azerbaijani vandalism in daily reports, showing the urgent need for international attention and intervention.

The destruction of the cemetery in Hin Shen adds to a long list of cultural sites targeted during the large-scale war initiated by the Turkish-Azerbaijani alliance from September 27, 2020, to 2023. The forced displacement that followed witnessed a relentless assault on the historical cemeteries of Shushi, along with numerous others in Hadrut, Martuni, Askeran, and Martakert regions of Artsakh. The fraternal cemetery of Haterk village, among others, fell victim to Azerbaijan's policy of cultural genocide.

The situation raises concerns about the imminent threat facing the cultural heritage of Artsakh. According to Article 4 of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in Armed Conflict, any act of vandalism, theft, robbery, misappropriation, hostility, or reprisal against cultural heritage is strictly prohibited. Moreover, the first Hague Protocol of 1954 explicitly forbids the destruction of cultural or spiritual values in occupied territories.

Avanesov substantiated his claims by posting a video that vividly captures the demolition of the cemetery, showcasing the blatant disregard for international conventions aimed at protecting cultural heritage during times of conflict.

The international community is urged to take immediate action to condemn and prevent further acts of cultural vandalism in Artsakh. The destruction of historical sites not only erases valuable cultural legacies but also undermines international efforts to preserve shared human history. 


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