17.06.2014 - UNESCOPRESS

The Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova calls on Iraqis to stand united around their cultural heritage

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has expressed concern as an upsurge of violence causes renewed human suffering and loss of life in Iraq. She fears that cultural heritage will be looted and destroyed, just as it was several years ago in Iraq and again during the recent tragic events affecting Syria.

“I call on all Iraqis to stand united for the protection of their country’s cultural heritage.  It represents a unique testimony of humanity, of the origins of our civilization, and of inter-ethnic and inter-religious coexistence. It is also a key to resilience for building a better future,”  declared the Director-General.

In the present situation, the main threats to Iraq’s heritage are the military use and targeting of monuments and sites and the looting and illicit trafficking of cultural property.

 “I call on all actors to refrain from any form of destruction of cultural heritage, including religious sites. Their intentional destruction are war crimes and a blow against the Iraqi people’s identity and history.  Their perpetrators must be held responsible for their acts.  I urge Iraqi leaders and communities to safeguard their country’s cultural heritage. UNESCO stands ready to assist the people of Iraq in this endeavor”.

 




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