World Bulletin / News Desk
The United Nations Security Council on Friday strengthened its protection of global cultural heritage sites threatened by armed conflicts, saying perpetrators of unlawful destruction could be prosecuted for war crimes.
From the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan to the ancient shrines of Timbuktu, deliberate attacks against the world's great heritage sites have multiplied in recent years.
In a unanimously approved resolution, the Security Council called for a systematic defense of cultural heritage sites, following early steps taken in the aftermath of Islamic State group attacks in Iraq and Syria.
The resolution calls for the protection of historic monuments and sites in any conflict zone regardless of geography or type of attack, whether for destruction, theft or trafficking.
"Directing unlawful attacks against sites and buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes, or historic monuments may constitute, under certain circumstances and pursuant to international law a war crime and that perpetrators of such attacks must be brought to justice," it said.
In a sign of the international community's growing get-tough stance on heritage, the International Criminal Court in the Hague on Tuesday sentenced a Malian jihadist to nine years in prison for the war crime of attacking Timbuktu's treasured shrines and a mosque.
The new UN resolution calls on countries to create specialized units to protect cultural heritage and for stronger international cooperation to thwart the trafficking of cultural goods from conflict zones.
"The deliberate ruthlessness against humanity's patrimony stems from a will to destroy memory," said Audrey Azoulay, the French minister of culture, who presented the text together with Italy.
"It's the same destructive will that aims at the flesh of women, men, children but also at stone, clay, the treasures of heritage, the museums," she said.
"It's also a major threat to security because the trafficking often finances terrorism."
Seven countries -- including France, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -- as well as a private donor pledged in Paris on Monday to provide $75.5 million to protect cultural heritage sites threatened by war and terrorism.
With the fame and effect to the west on discoveries and creations in medicine, the book of Ibn Sina, “El-Kanun fi't-Tib” was taught in the European medical schools such as Louvain and Montpellier Universities, until the 17th century
Ustaz Emad Abu Khadejih runs a small grocery store at a distance of 2.5 meters from Burak (Wailing) Wall, and 5 meters to al-Aqsa Mosque. The Israeli government offers for the store 24 million dollars but he strongly refuses. Eyüp Sami Yavaş wrote.
Hajji Sinan’s Tekke is one of the rare tekkes in Bosnia that reached the present day from the 17th century.
Tablets with first writing in Anatolia unearthed from burial mound in central Anatolian province of Kayseri
Chowk, located in heart of Lahore, connects two different cultures in one city
Ankara Park offers a taste of Turkey in South Korea’s sprawling capital
Unveiled by Tunisian president, initiative includes proposed legal changes that scholars say contravene Islamic precepts
Program aims to instill volunteerism, raise awareness of conditions in Africa
Exhibition organized as part of 2017 Medinah Capital of Islamic Tourism activities
Remarkable discovery of Roman district made during excavations
One of the most beautiful cities located in the Balkans is Sarajevo. Built between two mountains, the city has conquered the hearts of the thousands of visitors today as it has done so for centuries with its unique nature, rich history and cultural heritage.
‘I’m standing for Quds, because I am a human’, the campaign says
Head of Jerusalem's Greek Orthodox Church says Christians support protests against recent Al-Aqsa restrictions
One of the oldest towers in the Balkans is rising above Skopje, the capital of Macedonia.
A total of 300,000 tourists are expected to explore the city in the air by the end of 2017
Antique city in Turkey’s southern Mediterranean coast attracts tourists with its unique combination of history and nature