International conference “Protection of Religious and Cultural heritage in the Caucasus”
The joint international conference “Protection of Religious and Cultural heritage in the Caucasus” was held on December 4, 2015 by the Scientific-research Institute on Human Rights of ANAS and the State Committee on Work with the Religious Institutions. The main objective of the event was the discussions about the state of a cultural and religious monuments in the territory of the Caucasus, and the atrocities committed against these monuments so far.
Mrs. Aytan Mustafayeva, the director of the Institute on Human Rights of ANAS, doctor of law, member of Parliament firstly has talked about the atrocities committed against the monuments in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and mentioned the importance to inform the world about the brutal acts of Armenians.
Mr. Mubariz Gurbanli, the chairman of the State Committee on Work with the Religious Institutions of the Republic of Azerbaijan, doctor of philosophy in history has stated that the territory of the Caucasus historically was the place of coexistence, in particular, Azerbaijan has become an example of tolerance in the world for its multicultural values. In his speech he mentioned that the monuments belonging to different religions and ethnic minorities are under the special protection as a part of world cultural heritage in Azerbaijan, however it is not seen the same attitude toward monuments under the Armenian occupation.
Then the short film “Armenian vandalism in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan” has been demonstrated at the event. Mr. Faig Ismayilov, the chairman of Public Union “Organization of Protection of Historical and Cultural Monuments in the Occupied Territories of Azerbaijan”, researcher-expert has talked about brutal destruction of the Christian and Islamic monuments in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan in his speech. Mr. Robert Mobili, the head of Azerbaijani Albania-Udi Christian Community, senior research fellow of Baku State University had a speech on the topic “Udis and Albanian church in the multicultural entourage of Azerbaijan”. Mr. Anar Isgandarov, director of the department of Sources studies, historiography and methodology of BSU, professor brought to attention the information, documents and facts about the destroyed historical monuments in Baku and other uyezds of Azerbaijan during March massacre in 1918. Mr. Agil Shirinov, lecturer at Baku State University, doctor of philosophy in theology focused on the history of formation of the cultural-religous diversity in the Caucasus.
Mr. Rizvan Huseynov, research fellow of the Institute on Human Rights of ANAS mentioned the terror acts to cultural-religious in the territories of Iraq and Syria by ISIS and compared these acts to terror acts in the Caucasus by the Armenians. Mr. Anné H. Verhoef, from North-West University of South Africa attended the conference and presented the topic “Ongoing human rights violations: Similarities between issues of land occupation in South Africa due to Apartheid and in Azerbaijan as a result of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict”.
During the discussions, the importance of the protection and passing on to future generations of cultural and religious monuments in the territory of the Caucasus was mentioned and the participants expressed their views on the issues discussed and proposed.
Mrs. Mustafayeva and Mr. Gurbanli in the concluding remarks stated that the terror acts committed against the monuments should be assessed as violence against the humanity regardless the location and emphasized the importance of joint efforts of the international community against it!
Members of the Parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan, representatives of ministries and committees, scientists, researchers, and representatives of mass media attended the event.