UNESCO chief: Recent lootings cause irreversible damage to Egyptian identity

Ahram Online, Tuesday 20 Aug 2013

UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova condemns damage to cultural heritage sites in Egypt amid violence


UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova expresses her great concern for Egypt’s cultural heritage after the looting of the Malawi National Museum (MNM) and the devastation of several monuments of religious importance in Fayoum and Cairo.

"I firmly condemn the attacks against the cultural institutions of the country and the looting of its cultural property," Bokova said in a press release sent by the Egypt's UNESCO bureau, adding that: "This constitutes irreversible damage to the history and identity of the Egyptian people."

Various cities saw their artefacts looted in Egypt during violence Wednesday sparked in the midst of pro-Morsi protests following the break-up of their sit-ins in Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square in Nasr city and Al-Nahda Square in Giza.

Bokova also urged the respective Egyptian authorities to ensure both the protection and integrity of museums, sites, historical or religious buildings as well as exert all efforts to prevent the trafficking of cultural objects stolen from the MNM.

"Egypt’s exceptional cultural heritage is not only an inheritance of the past, reflecting its rich and diverse history; it is also a legacy for future generations and its destruction seriously weakens the foundations of Egyptian society," asserted Bokova.

Bokova reiterated her agency’s readiness to provide technical support and mobilise the partner organisations of the 1970 Convention Against Illicit Traffic of Cultural Heritage, including the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) and the World Customs Organisation, according to the UN News Centre's release.


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