To the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Executive Director of the UN Environnement Programme Ms. Inger Andersen
To the Director of the Regional Office for Europe
UN Environnement Programme Mr. Bruno Pozzi
Dear Ms. Inger Andersen,
Dear Mr. Bruno Pozzi,
We, Azerbaijani intellectuals, call on the world community in order to express our deep concerns and regrets regarding Armenian atrocities against the people of Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. As you know that Azerbaijan has always been a multi-ethnic country, which is strength of our nation. We have never intended to convert Azerbaijan into a mono-ethnic state in any page of our history. That is why different ethnic groups in Azerbaijan have been living in our country since ancient times side by side in peace and prosperity. They are citizens of Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan is a homeland for them.
Unfortunately the harmony of the peace and prosperity of different ethnic groups within Azerbaijan was disturbed with the illicit territorial demand of Armenian Republic against Azerbaijan at the eve of the collapse of Soviet Union. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that flared up in 1988 with the territorial demand of Armenia transferred to hot war between the parties with their independence in 1991 and continued until the ceasefire agreement in May 1994. At the result of the war 20% of historical territory of Azerbaijan was occupied by the Armenian Armed Forces. Besides territorial lost, Azerbaijan has around 300 thousand refugees from Armenia and more than 700 thousand IDPs from occupied territories of Azerbaijan. The Khojali massacre was the darkest side of the war where Armenians killed 613 innocent inhabitants of the town with special brutality on the winter night of February of 1992.
Aggressive policy of Armenian Republic against Azerbaijan also continues as a form of cultural and ecological terror in the occupied Azerbaijani territories.
The scale of damage to Azerbaijan’s cultural property by Armenians was huge. During the aggression, Armenians destroyed Azerbaijani cultural heritage objects in occupied territories and plundered a large number of historical, cultural, humanitarian and religious monuments and masterpieces. Armenian aggressors also looted and destroyed various historical museums in the region. In addition to museums, more than 500 historical and architectural monuments, 100 archeological sites, 22 museums with 40,000 artifacts on display, 9 palaces, 44 temples, dozens of mosques, 4 art galleries, and hundreds of ancient mausoleums and strongholds were either damaged or destroyed during the Armenian offensive. They intentionally converted mosques and other religious places into pigsty for turning religious monuments into an object for insults.
The sheer size of the ecological disaster was also huge. Armenians used phosphorus bombs to burn dense forests in Shusha in Mountainous Karabakh, causing irreparable damage to a whole ecosystem. Oak, juniper, beech, hornbeam, pine, ash and nut trees have all been ravaged by this vandalism. To strike such a blow against biodiversity is regarded as a crime against humanity under the UN’s Environmental Modification Convention to which Armenia has been a party since 2002. Amnesty International says the use of white phosphorus in the vicinity of civilians constitutes an indiscriminate attack and can be a war crime.
Under the trilateral agreement that signed in November 10, 2020 between Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia, the illegal settlers of Armenia of Kalbajar region should have already moved back to Armenia from the occupied regions of Azerbaijan by 15th November, but Azerbaijan agreed on humanitarian grounds to extend the deadline for their return to November 25. However, using this humanitarian step and goodwill of Azerbaijan, Armenians are damaging ecosystem of Azerbaijan, mainly in Kalbajar region. Forests are burning in this part of Azerbaijan. These are not accidental fires. Armenians are setting the woods ablaze as they withdraw from illegal settlements in Azerbaijan’s Kalbajar district. They are chopping down trees too and taking the timber to Armenia, filmed here by Russia’s Sputnik news agency. Smoke is rising from houses in Kalbajar as well – their Armenian occupants burn them down, so that no one else can move in, the BBC reports. There will be nowhere to live for the Azerbaijanis when they finally return home.
Armenians also caused fires outside the Karabakh combat zone. In late October heavy artillery shelling started a blaze in Tovuz district and another in some five hectares of forest in Goygol National Park.
Armenian Republic also has launched missile attacks on civilians in Azerbaijani cities of Ganja, Mingachevir, Khizi as well as Absheron district that are far from frontline in late October. The attack on Barda city by Armenia with the use of cluster bombs, where civilians were killed and injured, is another striking example of vandalism and barbarism and war crimes that committed against Azerbaijani civilians.
In view of the above, we hereby call on the world community to join us, the intellectuals of Azerbaijan, to start a massive, international campaign of solidarity to stop Armenian aggression on cultural and ecological sites of Azerbaijan as soon as possible and to condemn and prevent it from committing further war and ecological crimes and terrors. These inhuman actions of Armenia pose a threat not only for Azerbaijan but also for the regional and international ecological environment and must be immediately stopped. As human being, we all should keep in mind that this Earth is Mother for all humanity, and there is ‘no compromise in the defense of Mother Earth’.
Professor Gurbankhan Muslumov
President of 20.11.2020
Azerbaijan-Germany Medical Association,
President of Azerbaijan Minimally Invasive Surgical Society,
President of Azerbaijan-German-Turkish Medical Congress