There have been many recent reports of acts of vandalism, illicit trafficking and attacks on Libyan cultural heritage. These reports have been amid increasing deterioration of the security situation in Libya. Therefore, UNESCO has called on all parties for protection of Libya’s Cultural Heritage. In a statement, Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova stated that: “Libyan heritage is the expression of a shared memory of the country, and its respect represents a corner stone for long lasting national reconciliation”. She urged Libyan people to commit to and act for safeguarding of its national heritage and urged all parties to refrain from using cultural property and its immediate surroundings for military purposes as well as to abstain from any act of hostility directed at such property.
It has been reported that UNESCO is working with INTERPOL, the World Custom Organization (WCO) and specialized national police corps such as the Carabinieri (Italy), to order to increase vigilance on attempts of import, transit and sales of Libyan cultural property. UNESCO has also alerted Libyan neighboring countries on the threats of illicit trafficking of cultural property.
In addition, UNESCO is directly engaging with Libyan cultural professionals and NGOs to reinforce emergency measures for cultural heritage protection, and enable the rapid assessment, documentation and monitoring of heritage.