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INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY

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slave-trade-and-its-abolitionInternational Day for the Abolition of Slavery is observed annually on December 2.

Around the world 21 million women, men and children are forced into slavery.  The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery focuses on the eradication of slavery in its contemporary forms including the worst forms of child labor, forced marriage and all forms of human trafficking.

Article 4 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

HISTORY

The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery marks the date of December 2, 1942, the day the United Nations General Assembly’s first Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others.

The remainders of an ancient city on the verge of extinction

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sasanian-bridgeOn Wednesday November 24, and during a seminar on “The place of clay works in Iranian arts and architecture, coviened by te invitation of Azad University of Dezful, Mr. Habib Asefi, the governor of Dezful, in southern Iran, announced that the old parts of this historic city, covering 200 acres, is being demolished.
Dezful is an ancient city that contains some of the unique and beautiful samples of pre-Islamic and especially Sassanid period of Iranian history. Mr.Nasser Khorrami, the dean of the Azad University, while presenting some of more famous historic sites of the city, including a 1700 years old bridge, water mills, and the Choghamish Hill (where is recognized as the birth place of written texts), told the seminar that if these unique sites would not be preserved, the county would lose some important parts of its historical identity.
old-historic-cityThe Historical Heritage Organization has announced that it has is no budget for preservation of the old sections of Dezful city and needs the contributions of the private sector. This is parallel to the fact that the same organization has spent large sums of money to repair the mosque and preserve Shiite sites, creating a clear discrimination against pre-Islamic period of the country’s history. Thus, with the lack of any budget to save the historic sections of Dezful, the demise of such historic sites had gain an ever-increasing speed.

Discovery of Bronze Age City in Iraq

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bronzeEarlier this month a team of archaeologists from the Institute for Ancient Near Eastern Studies (IANES) at the University of Tübingen announced that they have uncovered a large Bronze Age city not far from the town of Dohuk in northern Iraq.

The team reported that the excavation work has shown that the settlement, which is now home to the small Kurdish village of Bassetki in the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan, was established in about 3000 BC and was able to flourish for more than 1200 years. The archaeologists have also discovered that the settlement layers dating back from the Akkadian Empire period (2340-2200 BC). The Akkadian empire is regarded as the first world empire in human history.

The 30 member team of archeologists are headed by Professor Peter Pfälzner from the University of Tübingen and Dr. Hasan Qasim from the Directorate of Antiquities in Dohuk. The team conducted the excavation work in Bassetki between August and October 2016 and was able to preempt the construction work on a highway on this land as reported by CNN and Past Horizons website.

The former significance of the settlement can be seen from the finds discovered during the excavation work. The archeologists can tell that the city already had a wall running around the upper part of the town from approx. 2700 BC onwards in order to protect its residents from invaders. Large stone structures were erected there in about 1800 BC. The researchers also found fragments of Assyrian cuneiform tablets dating from about 1300 BC, which suggested the existence of a temple dedicated to the Mesopotamian weather god Adad on this site. There was a lower town about one kilometre long outside the city centre. Using geomagnetic resistance measurements, the archaeologists discovered indications of an extensive road network, various residential districts, grand houses and a kind of palatial building dating from the Bronze Age. The residents buried their dead at a cemetery outside the city.

The settlement was connected to the neighbouring regions of Mesopotamia and Anatolia via an overland roadway dating from about 1800 BC.

Bassetki was only known to the general public in the past because of the “Bassetki statue,” which was discovered there by chance in 1975. This is a fragment of a bronze figure of the Akkadian god-king Naram-Sin (about 2250 BC). The discovery was stolen from the National Museum in Baghdad during the Iraq War in 2003, but was later rediscovered by US soldiers. The archaeologists have now been able to substantiate their assumption that an important outpost of Akkadian culture may have been located there.

The team reports that although the excavation site is only 45 kilometres from territory controlled by the IS, it was possible to conduct the archeological work without any disturbances due to the fact that there is a great deal of security and stability in the Kurdish autonomous areas of Iraq.

 

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

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women_mdWhy This International Day?

  • Violence against women is a human rights violation.

  • Violence against women is a consequence of discrimination against women, in law and also in practice, and of persisting inequalities between men and women.

  • Violence against women impacts on, and impedes, progress in many areas, including poverty eradication, combating HIV/AIDS, and peace and security.

  • Violence against women and girls is not inevitable. Prevention is possible and essential.

  • Violence against women continues to be a global pandemic.

One of the major challenges to efforts to prevent and end violence against women and girls worldwide is the substantial funding shortfall. As a result, resources for initiatives to prevent and end violence against women and girls are severely lacking. Frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals, which includes a specific target on ending violence against women and girls, offer huge promise, but must be adequately funded in order to bring real and significant changes in the lives of women and girls.

From 25 November through 10 December, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence aim to raise public awareness and mobilizing people everywhere to bring about change.

Destruction and Looters in Earthquake zones in Italy: Italian army deployed

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italy_lootersIt has been a very difficult year for Italy as the country experienced several earthquakes and after-shocks since this past August.  In late October and again in early November, central Italy was hot again by more earth quakes.  On November 3rd, a magnitude 5.0 earthquake struck central Italy in the early hours of the morning in the same region hit by strong quakes in late October. This one was centered 32 miles (51.5 km) southeast of Perugia. In the hours after the quake, loss of life and security of people living in the region are of utmost important. 

However, as it became more obvious, the looters and thieves had other ideas in mind.  In the village of Nottoria, near Norcia, a small church was looted and a famous painting was stolen. The painting titled The Forgiveness of Assisi, was taken from a damaged church and was painted in 1631 by a French artist, Jean Lhomme, who also produced works for the then pope, Urban VIII. The theft of the painting was not the first case as more looting had been done after the previous earthquakes.  In fact, the Italian government is reporting that many of the churches, chapels and other monuments affected by the earthquake are in isolated areas and there are fears that more works of art could be targeted by looters and thieves.

After the several reports of thefts and looting, the Italian government has now deployed Italian soldiers to the mountainous region hit by the earthquake to guard against looters.  In fact, it has been reported by the news agencies that the patrols of the area are to increase, with soldiers joining forces with police and the paramilitary Carabinieri. Around 500 soldiers were deployed to the quake-hit zone, as reported the Italian defense ministry said.  Police are also searching churches, monasteries and convents damaged in the quake in order to recover precious artifacts.  The paintings, statues, crucifixes and reliquaries are being stored in a warehouse rented by the cultural heritage ministry.  In addition, fire fighters have erected large tarpaulins over the remains of the 14th century Basilica of St Benedict in Norcia, the most notable of the monuments damaged in the mountain town. It has been reported that the fire service used cranes to lift monumental oil paintings from inside damaged churches. 

The local people, who have already been traumatized by a number of earth-quakes, have seen destruction and loss of over 300 lives.  Early November’s quake was the biggest to strike Italy in the last 36 years, but caused no deaths. 

Nimrud: Ancient Assyrian City is Freed

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nimrudAs reported by a number of news agencies, Iraqi government forces have now recaptured Nimrud, the site of an ancient Assyrian city which was taken over by Islamic Terrorists (IS) two years ago.

In March 2015, officials and historians condemned IS for the destruction of the archaeological site, which reportedly dates back to the 13th Century BC.  In fact, UNESCO has described the act as a war crime. IS terrorists say shrines and statues are “false idols” that have to be destroyed.

Nimrud is an ancient Assyrian city on the River Tigris which lies about 30km (20 miles) south-east of the major city of Mosul, and the site of the ongoing military actions by the Iraqi government forces who are attempting to recapture Mosul and the areas around it.

According to BBC, troops from the Ninth Armored Division liberated Nimrud town completely and raised the Iraqi flag above its buildings after inflicting loss of life and equipment on the so-called Islamic State.

Nimrud is believed to have been the capital city of Assyria for about 150 years.  The first excavations in modern times were undertaken by Europeans archeologists starting in the 1840s. It has been reported that the treasures and archeological artifacts discovered included sections of royal palaces, individual statues and smaller artifacts.  The excavations stopped for decades because of the two world wars but in 1949 Sir Max Mallowan (husband of writer Agatha Christie) began fresh excavations according to BBC.

International Day for Tolerance

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international-tolerance-dayThe United Nations’ (UN) International Day for Tolerance is annually observed on November 16 to educate people about the need for tolerance in society and to help them understand the negative effects of intolerance.

The International Day for Tolerance educates people about the importance of global tolerance.©iStockphoto.com/Julie de Leseleuc

What Do People Do?

The International Day for Tolerance is a time for people to learn about respecting and recognizing the rights and beliefs of others. It is also a time of reflection and debate on the negative effects of intolerance. Live discussions and debates take place across the world on this day, focusing on how various forms of injustice, oppression, racism and unfair discrimination have a negative impact on society.

Many educators use the theme of this day to help students in classrooms or in lecture theatres understand issues centered on tolerance, human rights and non-violence. These issues are also found in text books, lesson material and other educational resources used for this event. The UN Chronicle Online Education also features articles about tolerance.  Information on the day is disseminated through flyers, posters, news articles and broadcasts, and other promotional material to raise people’s awareness about the importance of tolerance. Other activities include essays, dialogues and story-telling of people’s personal accounts of intolerance and how it affects their lives.

Human rights activists also use this day as an opportunity to speak out on human rights laws, especially with regard to banning and punishing hate crimes and discrimination against minorities. In the workplace, special training programs, talks, or messages from workplace leaders about the importance of tolerance are utilized on this day.

Background

In 1996 the UN General Assembly invited member states to observe the International Day for Tolerance on November 16, with activities directed towards both educational establishments and the wider public (resolution 51/95 of 12 December). This action came in the wake of the United Nations Year for Tolerance, 1995, proclaimed by the assembly in 1993 (resolution 48/126). The year was declared on the General Conference of UNESCO’s initiative. On November 16, 1995, the UNESCO member states adopted the Declaration of Principles on Tolerance and Follow-up Plan of Action for the year.

The 2005 World Summit Outcome document outlines the commitment of Heads of State and Government to advance human welfare, freedom and progress everywhere, as well as to encourage tolerance, respect, dialogue and cooperation among different cultures, civilizations and peoples.

 

Public Life

The UN’s International Day for Tolerance is a global observance and not a public holiday.

 

UNESCO Director General visits Venice

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veniceOn November 3 and 4 , fifty years after the 1966 Venice flood and the International Safeguarding Campaign launched by UNESCO, the Director-General, Irina Bokova, undertook a visit to Venice, Italy.
This visit was an opportunity to mark the longstanding cooperation with Italy and to express UNESCO’s support to its government and people after the country was struck by a series of powerful earthquakes – causing human casualties and considerable damage to heritage, notably in Amatrice and Norcia.
In Venice, the Director-General opened an international conference at the Fondazione Cini on the future of the lagoon city and the sustainable management of its heritage, entitled “Sustainability of local commons with a global value: the case of Venice and its lagoon”.
The Director-General reiterated UNESCO’s determination to support the Italian authorities in the safeguarding of the World Heritage site of Venice today, in response to the rise of sea level and tourist pressure, which is expected to grow dramatically

Artifact Registration, National Museum of Afghanestan

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afghanistanOn August, 2016 the registration process of preserved artifacts of National museum of Afghanistan in the central bank vaults of Presidential palace started.

A Team of professional members of National museum with the cooperation of Oriental Institute of Chicago University has been appointed to register and repack, some of the artifacts of National museum, which are preserved in the central bank vaults of presidential palace.

According to the Acting Director of National museum of Afghanistan Muhammad Fahim Rahimi, the main purpose of this registration is to document artifacts of national museum of Afghanistan based on recognized professional standards and better preservation of these artifacts as they will be conserved and repack with accepted packing materials.