Director-General calls for immediate stop to new destructions of cultural heritage in Yemen

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21 September 2015

The Old city of Sana’a, an outstanding example of early Islamic architecture, and World Heritage property since 1986, was hit again by an aerial bombing on the night between 18 and 19 September. The strike destroyed the Al Ayni house, an outstanding example of Yemen’s unique architectural style, as well as further damage to the surrounding historic buildings.

"I call once again all parties to the conflict to end immediately the targeting of cultural heritage, particularly historic residential areas. Cultural heritage should not be a collateral damage during conflicts” said the Director General of UNESCO, Ms. Irina Bokova.

This new attack follows the destruction, only few days earlier, of the Minean Temple of Nakrah, dating from the first millennium BCE, and part of the ancient city wall of the archaeological site of Baraqish, near Marib, and adds to the many instances of destruction of museums, monuments, historic towns and archaeological sites in Yemen. “Cultural heritage is part of the communities’ memory and identity and is a significant resource for future reconciliation and sustainable development.  It must be respected and protected.” she added. The Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has repeatedly called for the parties to the conflict to respect the provisions of  the 1954 Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and of its two Protocols by refraining from targeting cultural properties and from using them for military purposes.