“UNESCO welcomes UNSC resolution to protect cultural heritage in Syria, Iraq”
PARIS, Feb 13 (KUNA) — The Director-General of the UNESCO Irina Bokova welcomed on Friday the adoption of a new UN Security Council Resolution 2199 that condemns the destruction of cultural heritage and adopts legally-binding measures to counter illicit trafficking of antiquities and cultural objects from Iraq and Syria.
“The adoption of resolution 2199 is a milestone for enhanced protection of cultural heritage in Iraq and Syria, extending to Syria the prohibition of trade of cultural objects already in place for Iraq since 2003,” Bokova said.
“It is also a clear recognition that the pillage, destruction and trafficking of cultural heritage are more than a cultural tragedy – this is also a security and political imperative to be taken into account in all peace efforts,” she added.
Bokova warned that the pillage of Iraq’s and Syria’s culture has reached an unprecedented scale in Iraq and Syria, adding that the revenues of such as fuel the conflicts by providing money for armed groups and terrorists.
“This resolution acknowledges that cultural heritage stands on the frontline of conflicts today, and it should be placed at the frontline of security and political response to the crisis”, she said.
She also welcomed the strong call to the responsibility of all parties in the conflict to protect cultural heritage. She commended also the overwhelming support by Security Council Members in favor of this resolution.
“The protection of the cultural heritage of Syria and Iraq has strategic implications – it is fundamental for the identity and social cohesion of all Iraqis and Syrians and it is a precondition for future reconciliation and recovery”.
Welcoming the explicit role attributed to UNESCO by the Security Council, Bokova reaffirmed the Organization’s commitment “to stand by Member States to ensure the full respect of the UNESCO 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property”.
“The destruction of the unique cultural heritage of Syria and Iraq is a loss for all humanity and it is our common responsibility to stand up for its protection,” she concluded.