More effective measures need to be taken for the preservation of the cultural heritage not only in the time of armed conflict but also during occupation – David Zalkaliani

26.09.2018, New York –within the framework of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, David Zalkaliani participated in the Ministerial side event on Protecting Cultural Heritage: Staying committed to the implementation of UN legal instruments where he highlighted the dire state of the monuments of cultural heritage in Georgia’s occupied regions.

According to the Minister the cultural heritage in the occupied regions of Georgia are under serious threat and that there are cases of deliberately removing Georgian traces from the Georgian monuments thus stripping the monuments from their authenticity. In this context, the Minister recalled the barbaric destruction of the monument in Tsebelda by the Russian military forces during the preparatory works of the military range, in gross violation of the norms of international law.  

The Minister said that the Georgian side is continuously raising its grave concerns over the state of conservation of the monuments on Georgia’s occupied territories - Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia in all the relevant international formats, including UNESCO, as well as Geneva International Discussions, and makes all efforts to ensure that the monuments of cultural heritage are accessible to international experts.

According to Zalkaliani, with only consistent and firm stance of the international community it is possible to reach any progress. The alarming situation in the occupied territories should be a source of concern not only to Georgia but also to the entire civilized world and more effective measures need to be taken for the preservation of the cultural heritage not only in the time of armed conflict but also occupation.

The Minister reaffirmed that Georgia remains committed to successfully implement the UNESCO cultural conventions, including the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, and contributes to promoting Organization’s values in this regard.