UNESCO calls for protection of cultural heritage in Yemen

UNESCO calls for protection of cultural heritage in Yemen

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During the past few days UNESCO has received reports from the Severe damage being done to Yemen's important cultural heritage. According to information from some media and other official sources, the ancient city of Sana’a (or Sana'a), in Yemen, was heavily bombed during the night of May 11, 2015, causing very serious damage to many of its historic buildings. In addition to the city of Sana’a, listed as Cultural Heritage, the pre-Islamic walled archaeological site of the city of Baraquish, has also suffered damage.

The Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has declared: “I condemn all these destructions and I call on the parties to mobilize to leave the cultural heritage out of this conflict. I am particularly concerned about the news that refers to aerial bombardments in highly populated areas such as the city of Sana’a or Saa’dah. Apart from terrible human suffering, these attacks are destroying Yemen's unique cultural heritage, the repository of people's identity, history, memory and exceptional testimony to the achievements of Muslim civilization.

“I call on all parties to refrain from using any cultural heritage or places of monuments as a military objective, out of respect for their obligations under international treaties, especially the 1954 UNESCO on the Protection of Cultural Property in Armed Conflicts and its protocols, as well as the World Heritage Convention ”, he added Irina Bokova, calling for the protection of Yemen's cultural heritage from the collateral damage of the armed conflict.

The city of Sana’a was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1986. Located on a mountain with an altitude of 2,200 meters, it has been inhabited for more than 2,500 years. During the 7th and 8th centuries, the city was one of the largest centers for the spread of Islam.

The city of Sana’a It was restored through a campaign carried out by UNESCO between the late 80s and early 90s thanks to the contribution of many countries and the government. Yemen has other world heritage sites, such as the city of Shibam and the city of Zabid.

Video: Maria José Miñana, UNESCO, on illicit trafficking of cultural heritage