7th March 2003
International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS) expresses
its profound concern about the potential damage to, and
destruction of, cultural heritage in the event of war
the ICBS is keenly aware that there are other compelling
concerns at times of armed conflict, not least the loss
of human life, the Committee urges all the governments
concerned to work within the spirit of The Hague Convention
for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of
Armed Conflict, to protect archives, libraries, monuments
and sites, and museums, if war breaks out in Iraq and
in the region.
ICBS believes that, access to authentic cultural heritage
is a basic human right. Damage to, and destruction of,
cultural heritage represents an impoverishment, not only
of the cultural life of the community directly concerned,
but of humanity as a whole. This belief is expressed in
several international conventions. Iraq is universally
recognized to be especially rich in cultural heritage.
The area is often described as the 'cradle of civilisation'.
The loss of parts of that heritage would certainly represent
a loss to all the peoples of the world.
ICBS wishes to stress that international humanitarian
law prohibits the use of cultural property for military
purposes or to shield military objectives.
the aftermath of any war in Iraq, the ICBS calls upon
all governments in a position to act to provide the necessary
resources, human and financial, to assess the damage caused
by the conflict to cultural heritage and to implement
plans for the necessary repairs and restoration. In the
case of looting of cultural property, detailed plans by
trained experts should be prepared for the repatriation
or restitution of the property concerned, with the involvement
of Iraqi scholars and heritage professionals.
ICBS is willing to respond to requests for technical assistance
and co-ordination which may be required by providing advice
and assistance within the resources available.
the ICBS calls upon all governments which have not yet
become party to The Hague Convention for the Protection
of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and
its two Protocols to do so.
by the International Committee of the Blue Shield, 7th
information about the International committee of the Blue
Shield at: http://icom.museum/emergency.html