The Armenian Bar Association, the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research, the Society for Armenian Studies, and the Association Internationale des Études Arméniennes actively report on the need to safeguard Armenian cultural heritage and churches in Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh) and the need to provide access to worshippers seeking to visit Armenian religious sites now under Azerbaijan’s control. Armenian cultural and religious sites are presently being destroyed and erased. This page will be continuously updated with the latest reports to and official responses from the United Nations.

On March 25, 2021, the Armenian Bar Association along with its partner associations hosted the following panel discussion on the Armenian cultural heritage in Artsakh. This webinar brings together Art and Culture scholars, experts, and attorneys to discuss the recent destruction and desecration of cultural sites in Artsakh.

On November 6, 2022, during our Thirty-Third Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, the Armenian Bar Association hosted a panel discussion entitled Armenian Cultural Heritage in the Crosshairs: Documentation and Advocacy at Home and Abroad, with presenters from International Christian Concern and Cornell University. 


Below you will find the following resources: 

The Threatened Armenian Religious Heritage of Artsakh 

January 22, 2024

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Religious Persecution and Ongoing Ethnic Cleansing in Artsakh 

June 13, 2023 

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Religious Persecution and Ongoing Ethnic Clensing in Artsakh June 2023

Letter calling attention to the destruction and desecration of Armenian religious and cultural heritage property by Azerbaijan and the denial of right to exercise religious rites

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Letter to Special Rapporteurs on religion and culture 2022 1214

Azerbaijan’s Destruction of Armenian Cultural and Religious Monuments and Suppression of Religious Freedom 

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Armenian Bar Association SFRC Statement 2022 1114

Third Report to the UN Special Rapporteurs Documenting the Serious and Worsening Developments in the Artsakh Region

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The Armenian Bar Association has submitted its Third Report to the UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights and the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, to bring to continue to document the serious and worsening developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) region. The Third Report focuses on the numerous ways in which Azerbaijan has curtailed, and continues to curtail, the rights of Armenian-Christians to exercise their religion freely in their ancestral lands which Azerbaijan seized control of less than one year ago. The pattern of Azerbaijan’s conduct documented in this report includes: 1. Eliminating physical security for Armenians in Azerbaijani-occupied territories. 2. Blocking access of religious sites to Armenian-Christian pilgrims. 3. Intimidating clergy by isolating, harassing, and subjecting them to inhumane conditions. 4. Inhibiting access to foreign nationals of Armenian descent seeking to conduct religious pilgrimages. 5. Changing the character of Armenian religious sites, without seeking participation or input of the Armenian Apostolic Church. 6. Continuing destruction of religious sites that connect Armenians to the lands including churches and cemeteries. 
The destruction of cultural heritage which we documented in our previous letters sits squarely within a broader systematic effort and pattern to: (i) deprive Armenians of the right to exercise their fundamental right to freely exercise their religion, (ii) cleanse Nagorno-Karabakh of Armenian people and worshippers, and (iii) erase the record of Armenian history and any evidence of Armenian presence from the region. This amounts to more than the anecdotal destruction of cultural and religious property by individual bad actors – it is part of a broader pattern and strategy orchestrated by Azerbaijan. Each of the human rights violations encompassed by this strategy deserves separate attention and condemnation. 
We request that the Special Rapporteurs investigate, report, and call broader attention to these issues and similar human rights violations. To the extent possible, we urge the Special Rapporteurs to try to mediate and promote peace-building measures that (i) protect and respect access to religious sites for the performance of religious rites; and (ii) protect and respect the coexistence of multiple religious faiths and cultures. 
This Third Report is also submitted on behalf of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, the Society for Armenian Studies, National Association for Armenian Studies and Research, and the Association Internationale des Études Arméniennes, the Research on Armenian Architecture Foundation and Save Armenian Monuments.

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Third Report re Right to Exercise Freedom of Religion and Protect Cultural Heritage (September 14 – corrected)

#Armenia, #Azerbaijan, #UnitedNations #Christian #Artsakh

April 2022 – Report and Urgent Call to Action: Erasure of Armenian Heritage by Azerbaijan and Denial of Armenians’ Right to Exercise their Christian Religion

September 2021 – Caucasus Heritage Watch: Monitoring Report #2

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June 2021 – Caucasus Heritage Watch: Monitoring Report #1

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April 2, 2021 – Urgent Call For Action: In Response to the Destruction and Vandalism of Armenian Churches

Armenian Cultural Heritage Report

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February 11, 2021 – Joinder from the AIEA, NAASR, and SAS

AIEA SAS NAASR Letter Artsakh

January 21, 2021 – Urgent Call For Action: In response to the destruction and desecration of Armenian religious and cultural heritage property by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces and the denial and erasure of Armenian cultural heritage

Armenian Cultural Heritage Report 1.21 2021

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January 26, 2021 – The Human Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Artsakh, Ad Hoc Public Report, The Armenian Cultural Heritage In Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh): Cases of Vandalism and At Risk of Destruction by Azerbaijan


Artsakh Ombudsman Report on Armenian Cultural Heritage

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December 11, 2020 – UNESCO Second Protocol Committee: Declaration on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict

As a result of a two-day meeting during December 10-11, 2020, and active negotiations, the UNESCO Second Protocol Committee has adopted a Declaration on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict – ensuring the cultural heritage protection in and around Artsakh and setting up an independent technical mission.

UNESCO Declaration

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2024 International Law Symposium: Call for Papers

The humanitarian crisis for the ethnic Armenian community of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) [as a result of Azerbaijan’s complete military encirclement, months-long blockade, and, ultimately, the entire Armenian population’s forced migration out of Nagorno-Karabakh] raise oft-ignored questions about the universality and effectiveness of non-derogable international human rights norms. This Call for Papers seeks submissions of abstracts for papers exploring the relationship between human rights and unrecognized or partially recognized States (viz, countries), particularly in connection with the live issues in Nagorno-Karabakh.

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