Azerbaijan to appeal to UNESCO over illegal archaeological activity in occupied lands
Azerbaijan will once again raise at UNESCO the issue of illegal archaeological activity in its occupied territories, Hikmat Hajiyev, spokesman for the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, told APA on Friday.
Hajiyev said that Dr. Yolanda Fernandez-Jalvo (National Museum of Natural History of Spain), Dr. Tania King (Blandford Town Museum, UK) and Dr. Peter Andrews (Natural History Museum, UK) have for some time been conducting illegal archaeological excavations in the Azykh Cave, located in the Armenia-occupied Khojavand district of Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hikmat Hajiyev said in a statement to APA on Friday.
He noted that these individuals have illegally crossed the state border of Azerbaijan, without a license of the country’s relevant authorities and been conducting illegal excavations at the site of the Azykh Cave. They have in a covert manner transported away the archeological findings by evading from Azerbaijan’s customs control.
Such illegal actions by these persons are a gross violation of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, stressed Hajiyev.
“By taking these illegal actions, they have violated Azerbaijan’s laws as well as the UNESCO Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict with Regulations for the Execution of the Convention 1954 and the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property 1970,” he said.
“And the Second Protocol to the Hague Convention of 1954 further expanded the scope of protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict 1999. Article 9 of the Protocol states that a Party in occupation of the whole or part of the territory of another Party shall prohibit and prevent in relation to the occupied territory any illicit export, other removal or transfer of ownership of cultural property, any archaeological excavation, save where this is strictly required to safeguard, record or preserve cultural property, and any alteration to, or change of use of, cultural property which is intended to conceal or destroy cultural, historical or scientific evidence,” Hajiyev continued.
The Foreign Ministry spokesperson regretted that the National Museum of Natural History of Spain and the British Blandford Town Museum do not take necessary measures to prevent their employees’ actions contrary to Azerbaijan’s laws and the international conventions.
“Though our diplomatic missions several times warned these persons and the museums they worked in, they ignored it. Their activities can be compared to the archaeological looting conducted in late 19th and early 20th centuries in colonial territories and in Iraq in 2003,” said Hajiyev, noting that those calling themselves scientific figures should not be engaged in plundering, theft and falsification of material-cultural monuments.
According to him, one of the “leaders” of the illegal excavations conducted in the Azykh Cave is Levon Yepiskoposyan, an employee of the Institute of Molecular Biology of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia.
Hajiyev went on to say that in 2016 Springer publishing house published a book titled “Azokh Caves and the Transcaucasian Corridor” about the archaeological excavations illegally carried out by foreign nationals in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
He noted that the Azerbaijani Prosecutor General's Office has filed a criminal case into illegal activities of these persons and is taking the necessary operational and investigative actions.
Hajiyev added that the countries where they hold citizenship will be informed through diplomatic channels about the criminal case initiated against them, and this issue will once again be raised at UNESCO.
Related news releases
- 25.06.2017Armenians violate ceasefire with Azerbaijan 148 times
- 24.06.2017Erdogan: "Turkey and Azerbaijan are on the same position on Karabakh issue"
- 23.06.2017Azerbaijani army adequately retaliated against enemy a week ago – President
- 23.06.2017Ilham Aliyev: Int’l community recognizes Nagorno-Karabakh as an integral part of Azerbaijan
- 23.06.2017EU: Ceasefire violations indicate status quo in Karabak conflict ‘unsustainable’
- 22.06.2017Azerbaijan’s refugee and IDP pain highlighted in the French Senate
- 22.06.2017Moscow says OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs’ latest statement fully reflects its stance
- 22.06.2017MFA spokesman: OSCE MG co-chairs should draw conclusions from public discontent in Azerbaijan
- 22.06.2017ICRC begins dialogue with parties on Armenian scout captured by Azerbaijan
- 21.06.2017U.S. Department of State: "The United States is deeply concerned over the recent violations of the ceasefire"
- 21.06.2017ICRC visits Azerbaijani detainees in Nagorno-Karabakh
- 21.06.2017Azerbaijan removes Japanese blogger from ‘black list’
- 21.06.2017Stark reminders of Azerbaijan’s IDP plight come to Brussels
- 21.06.2017Armenia breaks ceasefire with Azerbaijan 125 times
- 20.06.2017EU envoy expresses concern over situation in South Caucasus
- 20.06.2017Minister: There can’t be an influx of tourists to occupied Azerbaijani lands
- 20.06.2017Azerbaijani deputy PM: Some Muslim countries still provide assistance to Armenia
- 20.06.2017Azerbaijani deputy PM criticizes OSCE MG co-chairs for failing to settle Karabakh conflict
- 19.06.2017Co-chairs to brief Minsk Group members on Karabakh settlement process
- 19.06.2017Azerbaijani FM: Armenia pursues goal of undermining Karabakh settlement process
- 19.06.2017OSCE MG co-chairs issue statement after their visit to region
- 19.06.2017Ali Hasanov: Most int’l organizations recognize occupation of Azerbaijani territories
- 19.06.2017Status quo in Karabakh conflict must be changed: German envoy
- 19.06.2017Ilham Aliyev: Armenia tries to interfere with OSCE MG co-chairs’ activities
- 19.06.2017Popov expresses regret over recent ceasefire violations on contact line
- 19.06.2017Popov: Azerbaijani, Armenian presidents stand for continuation of peace talks
- 19.06.2017Popov: Minsk Group co-chairs’ latest statement addressed to both sides
- 19.06.2017Azerbaijani official accuses Armenia of continued provocations
- 19.06.2017Ali Hasanov: Azerbaijan will never give up principle of territorial integrity
- 19.06.2017Azerbaijani defense minister meets with OSCE MG co-chairs
- 19.06.2017OSCE MG co-chairs to start visit to Azerbaijan today
- 18.06.2017Armenia breaks ceasefire with Azerbaijan using mortars
- 17.06.2017Azerbaijani FM: Responsibility for escalation of situation in front entirely falls on Armenia
- 17.06.2017Another Armenian soldier killed on frontline
- 17.06.2017Two Armenian soldiers wounded in Nagorno Karabakh
- 16.06.2017Three Armenian soldiers violating ceasefire killed
- 16.06.2017IDP plight highlighted for new Westminster Parliament
- 16.06.2017Azerbaijani FM: Armenia’s policy aimed at maintaining status-quo hinders progress in Karabakh talks
- 16.06.2017Bryza: War is in interests of neither Azerbaijan nor Armenia
- 16.06.2017Ex-US ambassador: Armenia should withdraw from occupied Azerbaijani lands
- 24.02.2017Turkish Foreign Ministry condemns Khojaly Massacre
- 24.02.2017Azerbaijan suspends activity of Working Group on assessment of damage caused by Armenian occupation
- 24.02.2017Situation in zone of Nagorno Karabakh conflict causes concern – OSCE Secretary General
- 24.02.2017Azerbaijani MPs propose to erect ‘Genocide Memorial’ in Alley of Martyrs
- 24.02.2017Azerbaijani MP urges int’l community to impose sanctions against Armenia
- 24.02.2017Adoption of Khojaly resolution clearly indicates Djibouti’s position, says minister