16.01.2013 - UNESCOPRESS

UNESCO Director-General condemns arson attack against Sidi Bou Said mausoleum in Tunisia

© Flickr/Lobaolpha - Sidi bou said mausoleum

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova today condemned the profanation and arson attack during the night of 12 January against the mausoleum devoted to the Sufi saint and savant Sidi Bou Said, in the village that bears his name overlooking the Gulf of Tunis.

“The torching of this symbolic XIIIth century site, that gave rise to the village of Sidi Bou Said, marks yet another step in the campaign of destruction against Tunisia’s cultural heritage and history,” the Director-General said. “This tragic act not only strikes at the spiritual and historical heritage of Tunisia, but also at Tunisian society’s values of tolerance and respect for different beliefs and cultural diversity.”

The Director-General called on Tunisian authorities to take urgent measures to protect all sites representative of the cultural and historic wealth of the country. Ms Bokova stressed the importance of coordinating such action with civil society organizations, to ensure its protection for and by future generations.

The Director-General also said that UNESCO remained ready to provide any necessary assistance for the rehabilitation and restoration of damaged sites. 

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