Cyprus leads on adoption of resolution on cultural rights and protection of cultural heritage - 30/09/2016
The Human Rights Council adopted today (30 September) in the framework of its 33rd session, a resolution on cultural rights and the protection of cultural heritage, presented to the Council by Cyprus, on behalf of a cross regional core group comprising also Ethiopia, Greece, Iraq, Ireland, Mali, Poland, Serbia and Switzerland.
The resolution reflects the open, inclusive and fully transparent deliberations that were held over the course of the last few weeks and was adopted by consensus, having been co-sponsored by more than 60 Member and Observer States from all regions by the time of adoption.
As outlined by the Permanent Representative of Cyprus, Ambassador Andreas Ignatiou, in his introductory statement to the Council, the resolution was drafted in the light of the worrying frequency and scale of acts that damage or destroy cultural heritage, occurring often but not only during, or in the aftermath of, armed conflicts.
Highlighting the detrimental impact on the exercise and enjoyment of cultural rights, caused by acts that damage or destroy cultural heritage, it unconditionally condemns all such unlawful acts and expresses deep concern at the organized looting, theft, smuggling and illicit trafficking in cultural objects, which may even generate funds for the financing of terrorism in some instances. It further invites the adoption of effective strategies by States aimed at preventing destruction and underlines the important role that the Council can play, in concert with all other relevant international actors, in global efforts to protect cultural heritage.
The resolution also recognises the role that UN peacekeeping missions can make in the safeguarding of the enjoyment of cultural rights and highlights the important contribution made by cultural rights defenders involved in the protection of cultural heritage, whilst calling for the protection of their safety. It welcomes the decision of the Special Rapporteur’s in the field of cultural rights to prioritise this issue and encourages States to implement the recommendations contained in the Special Rapporteur’s reports to the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly.
Finally, the resolution calls upon the High Commissioner for Human Rights to convene a one-day intersessional seminar, with broad participation from diverse regions, on ways to prevent or contain the detrimental impact from the damage to or destruction of cultural heritage on the enjoyment of human rights by all and to discuss relevant best practices.
The resolution is the culmination of a Cyprus-led initiative in Geneva, consistent with the broader sensitivity of Cyprus on issues pertaining to the need to address the destruction of cultural heritage, as declared on numerous occasions and in diverse fora by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Ioannis Kasoulides.
The text of the resolution as adopted, along with a list of original and additional co-sponsors can be found in the files below.