As conflict escalates in Yemen, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today urged all parties to protect the country’s cultural heritage.
"The cultural heritage of a nation is essential for its citizens to preserve their identity, to benefit from their diversity and their history and to build themselves a peaceful future,” the Director-General said. “The heritage of Yemen is unique, reflecting centuries of Islamic thought, rich exchange and dialogue. I call on the people of Yemen, as well as on countries in the region engaging in military operations in Yemen, to do all they can to protect Yemen’s invaluable cultural heritage”.
"Experience shows that cultural heritage is never more vulnerable than during times of conflict. It is crucial that all parties refrain from targeting, by shelling or by air strikes, or using for military purposes cultural heritage sites and buildings." Irina Bokova cautioned.
In this connection, Irina Bokova recalled the obligations under international humanitarian law to protect cultural heritage under international humanitarian law, in particular the 1954 Hague Convention Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.