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UN News/ Pauline Batista

News in Brief 31 August 2023

  • Pervasive discrimination’ against people of African descent must stop: UN chief
  • Refusal to waive intellectual property for COVID-19 vaccines violates human rights in global South, experts say
  • ‘Last line of defence’ against extinction: UNESCO World Heritage sites under climate change threat
© 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.


Cultural sites in the Middle East face “unprecedented” destruction

Cultural sites in war-torn areas of the Middle East have been facing an “unprecedented” level of destruction, according to a representative from the UN cultural agency, UNESCO.

Karim Hendili is the Program Specialist for the Arab States Unit at UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre.

Apart from the destruction caused by conflicts, he said, many cultural artifacts in countries like Syria and Iraq have been stolen and traded illegally.

May Yaacoub asked Mr Hendili about the measures UNESCO is taking to protect heritage sites.