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by Jean Eckian
Paris, 0ctober 17, 2006
Tuesday, October 17th, 2006, an international delegation comprised of representatives of different National Parliaments and a Scottish history-of-art
specialist, were received by Mr.Kotchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, from whom they will be solemnly requesting an international investigation and open denunciation of the crime perpetrated on the memorial site of Jugha (Djoulfa/Julfa) by the army of Azerbaijan.
The delegation was formed at the behest of the Parliamentary Group Switzerland-Armenia – mainly the Co- Chairmen – the National Councillors Dominique de Buman (Vice-Chairman of the Christian Democratic-Party) and Ueli Leuenberger (Vice-Chairman of the Green
Party) – with the support of Mr. Charles Aznavour, Ambassador of Armenia to UNESCO.
The Parliamentarians will submit to the irector-General exhaustive documentation on the subject, as well as a signed Memorandum in which five recommendations
will be presented to the state of Azerbaijan, among which, the construction of a Christian memorial on the site of the old cemetery. If Azerbaijan did not answer these recommendations, the delegation of the members of
Parliament will ask the exclusion of Azerbaïdjan of UNESCO with arbitration of the European governments, Switzerland, Russia and Canada.

Moreover, the organizers of this exceptional meeting, regretted not assistance of the Armenian government.

On January 23rd, 2006, French deputy François ochebloine (UDF), recalled in his intervention at the Council of Europe: […] « We have been made aware that the methodical destruction of khatchkars has begun again in the cemetery of Djougha, in the south of Nakhijevan: we see again the violation of tombs, the
broken crosses, the emptied debris... The disregard for human rights and the insult to human memory converge in a somber picture that brings us back in distress to
the saddest of periods in our contemporary history. »

On the 30th of August 2006, the Azeri authorities refused permission to a delegation of European Parliamentarians to go to Nakhijevan and to certify the
massive destruction of the ancient « Crosses of Stone » (Khatchkars) of the cemetery of Jugha.

The first Khatchkars appeared in the 9th century.
The cemetery of Jugha was divided into three sectors.
The first sector included tombs from the period of the 9th to the 13th century, the second sector from the 14th to the 15th centuries, and the third from the
14th century through 1605 – covering a total area of 1600 square meters.

In the framework of the « Year of Armenia » celebrated in France in 2006 and 2007, the Louvre Museum will be offering to visitors an exhibition of 40 celebrated Khatchkars brought directly from Armenia. This will feature from 17th February to 14th May 2007.

Jean Eckian – Paris, France

Evgenios Haitidis (Greece)
Jim Karygiannis (Canada)
Ueli Leuenberger (Switzerland)
Steven SIM : historian (Scotland)at the press Conference


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