Museums under threat

Museums and collections constitutes primary means by which both tangible and intangible heritage are safeguarded, while protection and promotion of cultural and natural diversity remains major challenges of our century, as Introduction of the UNESCO 2015 Recommendation on Museums and Collections points out.

The great potential of museums is all the more apparent in recent years as these institutions have increasingly become the target of violent extremism.

When museums are threatened for the symbolic value that they hold for the local and international communities, it is precisely their intrinsic role in promoting exchange and dialogue among cultures as the driving force throughout history that we must protect and support.

We need to respond to the intentional destruction of culture and cultural institutions qualified by the UNESCO Director-General as “cultural cleansing” by strengthening capacities of local communities, often the sole agents who can actually assist under extreme situations, as well as by reinforcing international cooperation through knowledge transfer and institutional support.

Close monitoring must be maintained for museums in Iraq, Libya, Mali, and Syria.

You can also be a part of our efforts by joining the global social media campaign, #unite4heritage, launched by the Director-General of UNESCO in Baghdad, Iraq, to counter the rhetoric of violent extremism and the propaganda of hatred – which the international museum community is invited to join and share.

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