The material presented below is the address of the RA Civic Coalition in Support of the UN Charter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, His Excellency Mr. António Guterres, regarding the moral and practical incompatibility of the nomination of candidacy of the Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Russia, Polad Bulbuloglu to the post of Director-General of UNESCO and the values of UNESCO. The following address is also distributed among the representatives as well as alternates of the 58 Member States of the Executive Board, which are going to be present at the 201st Board session, as well as among other concerned parties.

Appeal of the “Republic of Armenias’ Civic Coalition in Support of the UN Charter” to the Secretary-General of the United Nations

As the “Republic of Armenias’ Civic Coalition in Support of the UN Charter”, we felt extreme surprise and indignation receiving the news of nomination of Polad Murtuza oğlu Mammadov, known under the nickname Bülbüloglu, to the post of Director-General of UNESCO.

Regardless of his political agenda, ethnicity, race or religion, Polad Bülbüloglu throughout his career, showed a personal character with no respect for moral integrity, humanitarian and cultural values or diversity. If Bülbüloglu is elected as Director-General of UNESCO, he will set a precedent by being the first Director-General in the history of UNESCO who has destruction of UNESCO Cultural Heritage of Humanity in his résumé. The mere nomination of Bülbüloglu could set a very dangerous precedent and jeopardize all that UNESCO stands for.

For eighteen consecutive years Polad Bülbüloglu’s acted as the Minister of Culture of Azerbaijan (from 1988 to 2006) which were filled with numerous crimes against cultural values of the South Caucasus region as well as his own people were registered.

During his tenure as a Minister, dozens of thousands Armenian Cross-Stones /Khachkars/ (inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity) were systematically and methodically destroyed in a medieval (historically Armenian) cemetery in the Djulfa region of Nakhijevan, while ten European MEP’s were denied access to the area. Various satellite imagery studies (such as those conducted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2009 and by the International Council on Monuments and Sites in 2003 and 2006-2007) serve as undeniable proof of khachkars being destroyed. Meanwhile Bülbüloglu, the man charged with protecting the cultural values and diversity of Azerbaijan, has never uttered a single word of disapproval and has made no efforts to stop these atrocities.

Polad Bülbüloglu is also should be kept accountable for the forced assimilation of ethnic minorities of Azerbaijan, for creation of deliberate obstacles on the way of preservation of languages and culture of Lezgin, Talysh, Avar, Tat, Tatar, Tsakhur, Udin, Kurd and Armenian minorities. The 2007 Report of The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) is a good indicator of the state he had left Azerbaijan in as a result of his eighteen-year-old tenure as the Minister of Culture. Moreover, his tenure has been marked by a culture of oppression of those in the Azerbaijani intellectual and cultural elite, including writers, artists, and journalists who had dared to defy the cultural and political-historical agenda of the government. In the words of his own friend of fifty years, Muslim Magomayev, the “Soviet Sinatra” of the USSR and a cultural icon of Azerbaijan: “As an artist I cannot allow myself to visit Baku as long as Polad Bülbüloglu leads the Ministry of Culture. I do not want to live in a country where my culture has been long and methodically destroyed by the Minister of Culture.” (Regnum News, 2005).

UNESCO Constitution states: “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed”. Nonetheless, UNESCO could soon have a Director-General, who has continuously used pro-war rhetoric when expressing opinion towards the resolution of the Nagorno- Karabakh conflict during his tenure as the Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Russia, declaring his willingness to charge on the battlefront with a weapon in his own hands, with complete disregard of humanitarian values.

We, as the RA Civic Coalition in Support of the UN Charter, without any political or national agenda in mind, believe that Polad Bülbüloglu, based on his personal character derived from the precedents of his activities throughout his career, if elected as the Director-General of UNESCO, will shatter the very foundations on which UNESCO is built and dark ages of gross negligence and bias regarding cultural and human values worldwide shall be upon us.
As we have not seen any reasonable explanation to this unacceptable choice and having in mind the serious repercussions which the election of Polad Bülbüloglu could have on the prestige and authority of the distinguished international organization, we call to take necessary actions to prevent this disastrous development both for UNESCO, for the South Caucasus and the World Culture.

RA Civic Coalition in Support of the UN Charter

P.S. The original text of the letter contains more detailed information and all of the necessary links and references to the sources.
2038 reads | 12.04.2017

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