United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
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United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM)
National Committee of International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)
International Council of Museums (ICOM)
International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS)
United Nations Development Program (UNDP) representation
European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) Geneva Talks participants
Diplomatic Corps Accredited in Georgia and other International Organizations
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia,
National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia

ADDRESS

Georgia is one of the ancient Christian states rich in the unique historical and cultural monuments of the global importance, museum artifacts and other values.


After gaining independence and especially after the Rose Revolution of 2003, protection of historical and cultural heritage of Georgia was brought into a common system guided and carried out by the governmental, legal entities and individuals in the framework of their authority. The steps made by the government towards protection and popularization of historical/cultural heritage, envisage close cooperation with international organizations. With their help implementation of numerous significant projects became possible.

The long period of occupation of Georgian territories resulted in damaging of the cultural and historical monuments of Georgia. Unique monuments of the great aesthetical and historical value – Christian churches and buildings for public worship, feudal architectural complexes, beautiful ancient frescos and inscriptions have been destroyed and this process is still going on. Even today the unique monuments of aesthetical, historical and cultural value and museum artifacts are exposed to danger.

Thus, the issue of protection and maintenance of historical and cultural monuments located on the occupied territories of Tskhinvali and Abkhazia becomes more important.

After 90-ies of the past century due to the objective reasons the relevant authorities of the Georgian government were unable to carry out necessary actions towards protection of the cultural and historical monuments of global value, located in this area.

Before the eyes of the whole civilized world a deliberate counterfeiting of Georgian spiritual and cultural heritage and falsification of its real historical origin is going on. For this purpose everything Georgian is being destroyed - ancient texts and inscriptions, frescos, archaeological and museum artifacts and etc. By using such actions occupational and separatist forces are trying to prove that historical monuments, located on that territory have nothing to do with Georgian History and Culture.

By using such pseudo-scientific propaganda and actions they are trying to lead the world public astray, to finally annex of the above mentioned territories, legalize ethnical cleansing and war crimes full responsibility on which rests with the Russian party.

Efforts of the Georgian government, academic circles and non-governmental sector together with international community towards stopping deliberate changing appearance of Georgian architectural monuments and falsification of its spiritual and cultural heritage in order of appropriation their identity, failed to yield results.

Unfortunately, our serious fears that such activities could gradually take larger dimensions came true. In 2009, on St. George Church of Ilori - the monument of Georgian cultural heritage located on the occupied territory of Abkhazia - under the mask of restoration works a vandal act was committed (breach of 5th paragraph of Venice Charter and of international principles on protection of cultural heritage) which caused a complete loss of authenticity of the monument. Soon after this vandal act “restoration works” commenced on another monument in Abkhazia – Monastery Complex of Bedia (10th century).

So far we have no information about:

- Whether the qualified and complete preliminary study of the monument by the international experts has been made;
- Whether corresponding conclusion about pre-restoration condition of the monument exists;
- Whether the plan of reconstruction and restoration of the monument has been presented;
- How qualified is the group of specialists, working on this monument?
- At what extent the works being carried out on the monument meet the requirements of the 5th and 6th paragraphs of Venice Charter?

Proceeding from the aforesaid:

We, the participants of the Scientific Conference – “Georgian Cultural Heritage on the Occupied Territories – Abkhazia” recognize that Georgian Cultural Heritage represents an integral part of the cultural heritage of the mankind,

and as we are guided by the internationally recognized conventions and charters: Venice Charter 1964, UNESCO World Heritage Convention 1972, UNESCO Hague Convention 1954, and etc.

and as we believe that Georgia, as well as the International Community, should do its best for preserving the cultural values of occupied territories of Georgia for the next generations,

and as on the occupied territories it is especially difficult to take care, restore and maintain the monuments of cultural heritage,

we consider that for maintaining and protection of the monuments, situated on the occupied territory of Georgia – Abkhazia it would be reasonable to take following steps:

1. Avoid carrying out of any unplanned and amateur works on the monuments of the cultural heritage, in order to obstruct losing of cultural values, as it happened during the willful “restoration” of St. George Ilori Church.

2. Enhance cooperation with international organizations, such as: International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), Georgian National Committee of International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

3. With participation of the international organizations (UNESCO, ICOMOS, ICOM) commence negotiations on creation of the Georgian-Abkhazian working group(s) for studying existing condition of the cultural heritage monuments and work out the plan of activities for their protection. For achieving this goal make the most out of Geneva Talks.
4. In order of implementation of the 2nd Protocol Provisions of the Hague Convention,
Georgia undertakes to:

- Actively cooperate with the Hague Convention Committee;
- Work out necessary documentation on receiving special protection status (under the 2nd Protocol Provisions) for the number of monuments of Abkhazia;
- Appeal for the technical and financial aid through the Hague Convention Committee.



ADDRESS was issued by the participants of Scientific Conference – “Georgian Cultural Heritage on the Occupied Territories – Abkhazia” at Sokhumi State University / 21.12.2011/Tbilisi

OGANIZERS:

Sokhumi State University
9 Anna Politkovskaia str.
0186 Tbilisi, Georgia
Tel/Fax: +995 322 54 14 08
Web: www.sou.edu.ge
Email:

The Young Psychologists’ Association of Abkhazia
Varketili III, II m/district
Build. 15, Apt. 10
Tbilisi, Georgia
Tel: +995 322 72 84 11
Mob: +995 93 20 40 07
Email:

The Conference was supported by the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia in the framework of the “Program of Support of the Scientists from Abkhazia” of the Ministry of Education and Culture of ARA (Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia).
 
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