#Unite4Heritage, it belongs to ALL of us

Within the framework of the 7th. Arab Week organized by the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics, Dr. Nuria Sanz, representative of the UNESCO office in Mexico, said that so far 14 mosques have been rebuilt in Syria since the beginning of the conflict in 2011.

The campaign uses social networks to help young people raise their voice to safeguard heritage. (Photo: Taken from UNESCO)
English 05/04/2016 12:31 Actualizada 12:57
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By Giselle Rodríguez

#Unite4Heritage is a global movement powered by UNESCO that was launched in response to the unprecedented recent attacks on heritage in the Middle East and other conflict regions.

The campaign, that aims to celebrate and safeguard cultural heritage and diversity around the world, calls on everyone to stand up against extremism and radicalization by celebrating the places, objects and cultural traditions that make the world a rich and vibrant place.

Within the framework of the 7th. Arab Week organized by the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics, Dr. Nuria Sanz, representative of the UNESCO office in Mexico, said that culture is our most democractic resource and every time built heritage is destroyed, a precious link with history and a vital component of our identity as peoples disappears.

The #Unite4Heritage campaign, first launched globally by the UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova on March 28, 2015 in Baghdad, Iraq, uses the power of social networks to create a global movement with young people for them to raise their voice and take action for the safeguarding of heritage under threat and to provide a counter-narrative to sectarian propaganda in Arab Countries and elsewhere. 

Do you want to take a stand and Unite for Heritage? Here are 7 ideas to get your started.

1. Post your support to social media

Take to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tell the world what cultural heritage and diversity mean to you and why you think we need to safeguard and celebrate it. Or post an image of your favorite heritage site or cultural tradition and explain why it matters to you.

2. Explore heritage in your local community 

What better way to celebrate cultural heritage than to go out and experience it for yourself! Find World Heritage sites nearby, or visit the website of your local heritage organization or cultural institution and explore the important role of cultural heritage in your community.

3. Organize a #Unite4Heritage event

Get your friends or colleagues together and plan an activity to celebrate cultural heritage and stand in solidarity with heritage under attack around the world. Invite heritage sites, museums and cultural institutions in your area to participate, and work with local media to cover the event. And make sure to tell UNESCO about it, so that they add it to their events listing.

4. Let your government know why heritage matters

You can act as a #Unite4Heritage ambassador in your community by contacting your government representatives and letting them know why cultural heritage is important for you and why it must be safeguarded for future generations.

5. Volunteer to safeguard heritage

Get in touch with heritage sites and cultural institutions in your area to see how you can assist them in safeguarding heritage. You can also learn about our World Heritage Volunteers program, which offers the chance to volunteer at a World Heritage site around the world.

6. Donate to the Heritage Emergency Fund

If you'd like to financially support efforts to safeguard cultural heritage in emergency situations, consider donating to the Heritage Emergency Fund, which contributes to the protection of natural and cultural heritage from disasters and conflicts by more effectively preparing for and responding to emergencies.

7. Stay up-to-date on campaign news

Keep checking back here to see the latest news about the #Unite4Heritage campaign, and check out the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see what others are saying. Also be sure to subscribe to the World Heritage mailing list for all of the latest info related to cultural heritage across the globe.

Illicit art trade is valued at US$3.4 to $6.3 billion annually, according to the US-based organization Global Financial Integrity.

For this reason in February 2015 the U.N. Security Council adopted the resolution No. 2199 that condemns the destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq and Syria, particularly by ISIL and ANF, and denounces that many of these extremist groups generate income from engaging in the looting and smuggling of cultural heritage items from archaeological sites, museums, libraries and archives and use it to support their recruitment efforts and strengthen their operational capability to organize and carry out terrorist attacks.

To prevent this from happening the UNESCO has built a global coalition of partners dedicated to ensuring that objects cannot be moved across borders.

“The art market has to be vigilant to verify the provenance of archaeological objects coming from countries in conflict such as Iraq and Syria, but also Libya, Mali and Yemen,” said Francesco Bandarin, Assistant UNESCO Director-General for Culture. 

In Aleppo, at least 12 historical buildings have been damaged or destroyed by war, equal to 30-40% of the World Heritage property area, among them the 11th century minaret, the prayer hall and the main gate of the Omayyad Mosque while in Palmyra ISIS destroyed the Baal Shamin and Bel temples, as well as the funeral towers and the Triumphal Arch. Other archaeological sites that have been destroyed are Ampamea in Hama, Tell Merdikh in Idlib and the Dura-Europos and Mari sites in Deir el-Zour. 

Dr. Sanz said that so far 14 mosques have been rebuilt in Syria since the beginning of the conflict in 2011 and that the UNESCO is working with local experts to assess damages in Palmyra after ISIS was expelled from the site last week.   


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