A groundbreaking conference to explore responses to Azerbaijan’s genocidal regime wrapped up its deliberations at the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia, recommending a stepped-up mobilization effort to address the ethnic cleansing of Artsakh Armenians, carried out by the dictatorship of Ilham Aliyev. 

His Holiness Catholicos Aram I presided over the conference, “Reinstating the Indigenous Rights of Artsakh People: Confronting Azerbaijan’s Genocidal Policy,” organized by the Cilicia Analytic Platform.  

In a closed meeting following the official conclusion on Monday, April 22, the CAP convened to analyze the deliberations and proposals. The urgency for innovative strategies to reinvigorate advocacy efforts was highlighted.   

Speakers also discussed the best ways for enhancing the visibility of the Artsakh issue, now exposed to Azerbaijan’s genocidal machinery. Melanya Palayan offered a presentation on Azerbaijan’s cultural appropriation campaign in Artsakh, tracing its origins to narratives of Turkic tribal heritage.  

This narrative, she argued, has rationalized Azerbaijan’s appropriation of Armenian cultural heritage sites and churches in Artsakh. Following her, Lernik Hovhannisian addressed the imperative of safeguarding Artsakh’s cultural heritage, proposing mechanisms for protection. Armine Dikranian then outlined existing international legal frameworks for the protection of cultural heritage.  

In his closing reflection, His Holiness Aram I commended the conference’s objective and critical discourse, noting its contributions to consensus-building. He reiterated the importance of continued efforts to contextualize academic discussions into real-life action plans.  

His Holiness also emphasized the timeliness and urgency of the topics discussed, expressing gratitude to all participants and organizers. He affirmed the Catholicosate of Cilicia’s unwavering support for initiatives aimed at empowering Armenia, notably advocating for the “right to return” of Artsakh’s population under international protection.   

The three-day conference marked a pivotal moment in the ongoing discourse surrounding Artsakh’s indigenous rights, signaling a renewed call to action for the global Armenian community.