NEW YORK, OCTOBER 18 – “In the past, culturale heritage was at risk of becoming collateral damage of wars. Today, the destruction of monuments and cultural objects is intentional. They are being destroyed because they symbolize different identities. The protection of cultural heritage in crisis areas is the priority of the Italian task force Unite4Heritage”, the Italian Minister for Culture Dario Franceschini said today during a high level event at the United Nations.
The founding of an Italian “United4Heritage Team” stems from a proposal made by Minister Franceschini at the conclusion of the International Conference of Ministers of Culture, which was held in Milan on the occasion of the Expo 2015 and attended by over 80 Countries. The task force consists of consists of 30 units of the specialized Carabinieri TPC Command and 30 experts from the Ministry of Culture. “Cultural heritage belongs to humankind as a whole. It is therefore only right that the international community mobilize resources to protect it”, Franceschini said. The head of UN peacekeeping Jean-Pierre Lacroix agreed: “The destruction of cultural heritage is meant to obliterate symbols of unity to obstruct sustainable peace”.
Italy was represented at the meeting by the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Laura Boldrini: “If we don’t protect cultural heritage we give terrorists the chance to destruct our identity”. A representative from Unesco paid tribute to the leading role of Italy in mobilizing action and resources. Italy is the first Country in the world to set up a national Task Force, which can be tailored to mission requirements. By Resolution 2347 (2017), the U4H TF can also take part in peace-keeping missions. In this framework, a dedicated Training Team within the Task Force is in charge of training local personnel in order to rapidly increase their operational capacity.
The head of the special unit of the Carabinieri for the protection of cultural heritage (TPC), General Fabrizio Parrulli, was at hand to give some numbers: 780,000 works of art rescued; one million 200,000 archeological object seized, 27,000 forgeries, a data bank of one million 200, 000 pieces. Parrulli showcased one of the “jewels” of TCP, the app iTCP which allows ordinary citizens to confront suspicious works of art with the Carabinieri database. Still in the Italian version, it’s in the process of being translated into svelta languages, arabic included. (@OnuItalia)