NEW YORK, 21 SET – “Culture must unite, not divide”: addressing a high level side event at the United Nations the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Angelino Alfano, called upon the international community to adopt the protection of cultural heritage, “non just as a moral obligation but above all as a security imperative”.
Acts of intentional destruction of cultural heritage “can be war crimes and crimes against humanity and are a huge obstacle to peace because they hinder dialogue and reconciliation, by fomenting hatred among communities and between generations”, said the Italian Minister reminding the panel thatItaly has placed culture at the center of the agenda for peace and security, by promoting – with France – Security Council Resolution 2347: “It’s the first of its kind adopted by the Security Council on the destruction of cultural heritage in armed conflicts. Because we believe the Council should pay much more attention to threats to cultural heritage and their impact on global security”.
The European Union, along with Italy, UNESCO and UNODC organized the event. “Foreign politics must protect cultural heritage, must recognize the power of culture to build bridges and understanding, bring peace and reconciliation”, the High Representative/VP of the Union, Federica Mogherini, underlined. Last year the EU adopted for the first time a strategy for international cultural relationships, “and it’s incredible that there was none in place before”, she added, expression “pride” because now “culture is at the heart of our foreign policy”.
The Director General of UNESCO Irina Bokova praised Italy for it’s role in the adoption of UNSC Resolution 2347: “We know what happens when people start buying books”. Bokova recalled the UNESCO campaign Unite for Heritage. “We established a National Task Force of Italian Carabinieri. In addition, Carabinieri provide training to international and regional forces. “Unite4Heritage” is founded on the notion that culture must unite and not divide. And so we must do our utmost to avoid that important fora, like UNESCO, turn into political and ideological battlefields”, the Minister warned. (@alebal)