Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova condemns the destruction of the Imam Dur Shrine in Iraq

, France

27 October 2014 – The Director-General of UNESCO strongly condemns the destruction of the Imam Dur Shrine located in the Governorate of Salah-e-Din. The shrine, which was built during the eleventh century AD., is considered as one of the emblematic representations of Islamic architecture of its time.

“The intentional targeting and systematic destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq is reaching unprecedented levels”, said the Director-General. "The destruction of the Imam Dur Mausoleum is not an isolated case. Over the past months, we have witnessed similar attacks on historical buildings, in particular mosques, churches and shrines.”

“The cultural cleansing underway in Iraq must stop. The persecution of ethnic and religious minorities, combined with the systematic destruction of some of the most iconic representations of Iraq’s rich and diverse heritage, testifies to an ideology of hatred and exclusion", said the Director-General, recalling her statement on 8 August, which called for the immediate protection of the cultural diversity of Iraq.

"Such acts are war crimes and their perpetrators must be accountable for their actions. UNESCO stands by all Iraqis in their efforts to safeguard their heritage, a heritage for mankind" said the Director-General.