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UNESCO reminds warring parties of laws protecting cultural property

[JURIST] In the wake of various reports of damage to several cultural buildings in Iraq, particularly in Baghdad, Mosul and Tikrit, since the beginning of the conflict, the Director-General of UNESCO [official website], Koïchiro Matsuura emphasized in a statement Thursday that everything possible should be done to preserve Iraq's cultural heritage. According to a press release,

[W]ell before the outbreak of the conflict UNESCO took a number of steps to ensure that the different parties involved were aware of the terms of the 1954 Hague Convention and its two additional protocols relating to the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict. The Director-General accordingly alerted the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the US Department of State and made available a detailed map of the positions of Iraqi archaeological sites and museums. UNESCO also invited INTERPOL, the World Customs Organization and the International Confederation of Art Dealers to ensure compliance with the 1970 Convention relating to the illicit transfer of ownership of cultural property.
Read the full UNESCO statement, and learn more about cultural heritage in Iraq [UNESCO backgrounder].

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