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World Heritage in Conflict Zones

A number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites have been deliberately damaged, during conflict, to fuel hatred & block reconciliation. Our work in rehabilitating sites implies much more than architectural repairs -- it's about values, identities & belonging. We need to protect culture from attack. Protecting culture is protecting people, their way of life & providing them with essential resources to rebuild when war ends.

On 14 May 2014, we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Hague Convention - the only intl agreement that focuses exclusively on the protection of cultural heritage during hostilities. It's our main tool to prevent destruction, misuse or theft of cultural property in conflict. 126 States are party to the Hague Convention. On this day, we call upon all States to work together to ratify and implement it ow.ly/wQqNu

The World Heritage City of Aleppo has again been hit by a major explosion against the Carlton Citadel Hotel, a building from the turn of the 20th century in the vicinity of Aleppo’s Citadel and adjacent to its souks. Heritage should not be taken hostage in the conflict ow.ly/wHFDG

Today, all hands join to lay the 1st brick to rebuild Timbuktu. The UNESCO World Heritage site was damaged by armed extremists who occupied the north and centre of Mali in 2012.

The destruction of Syria’s cultural heritage must stop. It gravely affects the identity and history of the Syrian people and all humanity, damaging the foundations of society for many years to come

Centuries in the making, cherished for hundreds of years, unique heritage can vanish in hours. Protecting culture is NOT a luxury that is better left for another day. Protecting culture is also protecting people -- it is protecting their way of life, providing them with essential resources to rebuild communities and restore links when war ends.

In February 2013, UNESCO provided French and Malian authorities and Chiefs of Staff with the necessary data for locating and protecting Mali's heritage sites – more than 8,000 “Heritage Passports” containing such information have been distributed to the troops.

We are committed to seeing all of the precious cultural heritage attacked in Timbuktu in the past two years completely rebuilt and restored, including this centuries-old shrine.

The protection of world heritage is a global duty and requires the cooperation of all peoples.

The religious divisions that led to the damage of this mosque in 2006 were overcome through its UNESCO-supported reconstruction, seen as a powerful symbol of Iraqi national reconciliation.

We are closely monitoring this ancient city's cultural treasures to ensure its priceless heritage is preserved for future generations.

The sacred door to this mosque, sealed shut for centuries, was broken down in an attack in 2012, destroying a piece of cultural heritage for all of humanity.

Following the wanton destruction of this mausoleum in Timbuktu in 2013, UNESCO has been working to plan its eventual restoration.

The destruction of this shrine in 2012 is an attack on the very notion of cooperation and tolerance between cultures.

Most people know Bamiyan as the site where giant statutes of the Buddha were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. But it is the location of other important archaeological sites too, such as Shahr-i-Zohak (Red City), an impressive mass of ruins that was once the fortress protecting the entrance to Bamiyan in the 12th and 13th centuries. Now this site will be restored and conserved as part of a new project in Afghanistan sponsored by UNESCO and the Government of Italy.

When the historic Old Bridge in Mostar was destroyed during war in 1993, UNESCO helped oversee the reconstruction of this important symbol of peace & cooperation.