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© UNESCO/Francesco Bandarin (file)

“Cultural cleansing” by terrorists is a war crime: UNESCO chief

The destruction of cultural heritage by terrorists, described as “cultural cleansing” by the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), is a war crime.

Irina Bokova made the remarks on Friday after members of the Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on the protection of cultural heritage sites in armed conflict.

War-torn Syrian sites of Palmyra, Aleppo “part of their identity”

Newly-identified destruction of the World Heritage Site of Palmyra is an “immense loss” to both the Syrian people and humanity overall, according to the UN Cultural Organization, UNESCO.

The ancient First and Second Century site is one of the world’s architectural jewels, marrying Greco-Roman buildings with local and Persian influences.

ISIL terrorist fighters gained control of the site and the town of Palmyra in 2015 and it was recaptured by government forces last year, but then ceded again to the extremists.

UN Photo/Manuel Elías

Protecting heritage part of “security response” to conflict

Protecting cultural heritage is an integral part of the “security and humanitarian response” to conflict situations; that’s according to Irina Bokova Director General of the UN’s cultural agency, UNESCO.

Archaeological sites such as Palmyra in Syria and ancient and religious monuments in Timbuktu in Mali have been targeted and destroyed by terrorists.

UNESCO has been working to prevent the destruction of cultural heritage from taking place.

© UNESCO/F. Bandarin

Palmyra has “maintained its integrity and authenticity”

The ancient archaeological site at Palmyra has “largely maintained its integrity and authenticity” despite the best efforts of the terrorist group ISIL to destroy it.

That’s according to Mechtild Rossler, who is leading a team from the UN cultural organization (UNESCO) to the World Heritage site in central Syria.

The team has been assessing the damage to Palmyra and has arranged for the removal of the remainder of the artefacts in case fighting resumes in the area.

UNESCO/Prof. Abdulkarim

Despite destruction, cultural treasures can rise again: UNESCO

Despite the destruction of yet another priceless heritage site in Iraq, cultural sites can be restored in the post-conflict era.

That’s the view of the UN Cultural agency’s emergency preparedness and response unit chief, Giovanni Boccardi.

The senior UNESCO official was responding to satellite images released on Tuesday, showing the total destruction of the 1400-year-old Christian monastery of St Elijah, in Mosul, an area controlled by the terrorist group, ISIL.

© UNESCO/F. Bandarin

Destruction of cultural site would be “enormous loss to humanity”

The destruction of a cultural site in Syria would be a war crime and an enormous loss to humanity if it goes ahead, the Director-General of the UN cultural agency, UNESCO has warned.

Fighters of the terrorist group ISIL, also known as Da’esh, have entered the UNESCO world heritage site of Palmyra in central Syria.

The militants have previously demolished ancient sites in Iraq.

Neil Ford asked the UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova for her reaction to the arrival of ISIL at Palmyra.

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