On Friday March 24, 2017, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2347 for the protection of heritage, deploring the unlawful destruction of cultural heritage and affirming that such attacks might constitute a war crime and must be brought to justice (1). The resolution can be a serious action against “cultural cleansing” in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
During the discussions on this action, Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, calling the resolution a historical document, said that “the destruction of cultural heritage was a war crime and tactic of war, and that defending that heritage was a security imperative”.
As far as Pasargad Heritage Foundation (PHF) is concerned, we consider the passing of this resolution a very hopeful step. PHF has been active in the field of preserving the cultural heritage for 12 years and wrote an open letter to UNESCO 10 years ago (November 2007), suggesting that:
– “UNESCO must become more proactive in its responsibilities and more sensitive to the desires of peoples rather than the governments.
–“Although all above proposals require further study and collaboration for making them acceptable and operable, we believe that the time has come for the cultural crimes dealing with human civilization be treated as being not less important than the physical crimes dealing with lives” (2).
Now that this historical resolution has been announced, one can hope that UNESCO would go further and substitute the opinion of governments on cultural heritage issues with that of experts and activists in this field who have the support of their people. The reason is that all the totalitarian governments, especially in the Middle East, have shown that the condition of cultural heritage in their countries is of no concern to them, and they rather play an obvious role in the demise of such heritage and consider “cultural cleansing” (of the past) a part of their policies.
On behalf of the PHF