UN official says ISIL destruction of Iraq cultural sites barbaric

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Iraq
Friday, 29 May 2015

The United Nations (UN) member states have condemned as barbaric the destruction of Iraq’s cultural heritage by the ISIL Takfiri terrorists.

On Thursday, the UN General Assembly approved a non-binding resolution amid rising international concern over the ISIL militants’ possible attack on the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra.

The UN “condemns the barbaric acts of destruction and looting of the cultural heritage of Iraq carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and deplores the rising incidence of intentional attacks against and threats to the cultural heritage of countries affected by armed conflict,” the resolution said.

The resolution, drafted by Germany and Iraq, also stated that any attack on the world’s cultural heritage is tantamount to a war crime.

“Attacks intentionally directed against buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes, or historic monuments, may amount to war crimes,” it added.

Meanwhile, German Minister of State Maria Boehmer called on art collectors and auction houses to avoid buying historical artifacts stolen from the Arab country.

"Every person needs to know that the purchase of property from Iraq is punishable but also that it supports and finances terrorist activities," she said at a press conference following the approval of the resolution, adding that the destruction of the country’s invaluable cultural heritage "is a war crime and an attack on humanity as a whole.”

Iraq’s Ambassador to the UN Mohamed Ali Alhakim also strongly condemned ISIL’s attacks on historical sites in the war-torn country.

"The destruction of Iraqi cultural heritage, the cradle of civilization, is no less barbaric and serious than killing Iraqis," the ambassador said, voicing regret that the UN Security Council fell short of passing a binding and enforceable resolution.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova also hailed the resolution as an important step in protecting Iraq’s cultural heritage as “it could identify cultural cleansing as a new phenomenon now that it is emerging as a threat to security of the people, security in the Middle East.”

Back in April, ISIL terrorists annihilated artifacts and monuments in Iraq’s ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud. They also attacked the Ninawa museum in Mosul in February, destroying exhibits using sledgehammers and drills.

The terrorists are now in control of the historical city of Palmyra in the western Syrian province of Homs and there are fears that they may destroy the cultural site there.

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