UNESCO Director-General welcomes the liberation of Hatra and will send Emergency Assessment mission “as soon as possible”
Following several reports and discussions with the Iraqi authorities, UNESCO has confirmed the liberation of the archeological site of Hatra, located in the Governorate of Nineveh in Iraq.
The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has reiterated her support to the government and people of Iraq and expressed the readiness of UNESCO to help protect and promote Iraqi heritage as a force for national cohesion, peace and recovery for the country.
“The liberation of the ancient city of Hatra, a UNESCO world heritage site, is good news for Iraq and beyond. For two years, Hatra has been one of the symbols of the cultural cleansing plaguing the Middle East. The destruction and looting of the remains of the capital of the first Arab Kingdom, is an immense loss for the Iraqi people and the world. Its liberation marks a positive turning point and paves the way for ensuring its protection and conservation,” declared the Director-General.
“Violent extremists know the power of heritage to unite, to bring people together and provide them with pride, confidence and dignity – this is why they target and destroy heritage. The protection of heritage has become more than a cultural issue – it is also a security issue, and this is the spirit of the recent resolution 2347 adopted unanimously by the UN Security Council on 24 March, putting culture at the heart of international efforts to build peace” said Irina Bokova.
“The deliberate destruction of heritage is a war crime, and UNESCO will do everything in its power to ensure these crimes do not go unpunished. I call on all parties to preserve this unique heritage as an essential condition for peace and the future of the region,” Ms. Bokova added.