UNESCO calls for protection of Iraq’s cultural heritage

NEW YORK: Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, has called on all Iraqis to stand united for the protection of their country s cultural heritage.

In a statement for UNESCO’s Director-General, she said: “Iraq’s cultural heritage represents a unique testimony of humanity, of the origins of our civilisation, and of inter-ethnic and inter-religious coexistence. It is also a key to resilience for building a better future” She also expressed concern as an upsurge of violence causes renewed human suffering and loss of life in Iraq adding that 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,” Bokova added.

She urged Iraqi leaders and local communities to safeguard their country s cultural heritage highlighting that UNESCO stands ready to assist the people of Iraq in this endeavor.