|Azerbaijan has been a member of Unesco since June 1992. Moreover, the EU has had a partnership and cooperation agreement with Azerbaijan since 1999.|
In Julfa, in the province of Nakhchivan (Yernjak district) is a centuries-old Armenian cemetery. Even though the province has been annexed by Azerbaijan, Armenians have lived there for centuries and are also buried there.
In November 1998 the Azerbaijani authorities began destroying the cemetery. Unesco was able to halt this vandalism only temporarily. In 2005 the cemetery was virtually destroyed. Historically important headstones were broken up manually and mechanically and used as building material. At the beginning of March 2006 the whole area became a military site. Changing the use of a former cemetery containing thousands of human remains shows a lack of moral scruple by the Azerbaijani authorities.
Is the Commission aware of these facts? Is the Commission considering taking action in the framework of the cooperation agreement and asking for an explanation in Azerbaijan? Is the Commission willing to urge the Azerbaijani authorities to restore this heritage site (for example by reopening the site to the public and placing a memorial)? What action can and will be taken so that such incidents do not happen again in the future?
29 April 2010
WRITTEN QUESTION by Bart Staes (Verts/ALE) to the Commission