UNESCO Objects to Jugha Reference at Khachkar Exhibit

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PARIS (HETQ) — Just hours before the opening of an exhibit on Armenian stone crosses at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) headquarters here on June 16, the organizers removed all place names and an informational map, as well as a photo of the Armenian cemetery in Jugha after the stone crosses had been destroyed by the Azerbaijani government.

The exhibit is titled “Art of the Stone Cross: Armenian Holy Stones.”

Arev Samvelyan, Armenia’s deputy minister of culture, said UNESCO officials not only found any mention of Armenian crosses in Turkey and Azerbaijan objectionable but references to crosses in Karabagh as well.

The Armenian delegation gave in on the Jugha issue but insisted on keeping the photo of the Armenian cemetery before the destruction of hundreds of stone crosses.

In response, UNESCO staffers removed the organization’s official flag from the exhibit hall and didn’t show for the opening ceremony, claiming that they were otherwise engaged.

Commenting on the flap, art historian Patrick Donabedian said, “I just want to underline that today UNESCO is far removed from fulfilling its stated mission. They wanted to remove my exhibit just because the word Jugha was in the text.”

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