On February 29, ICRC President Peter Maurer and UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova signed a partnership agreement for the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict.
With this, the ICRC has reaffirmed its commitment to protecting cultural property in the event of armed conflict and promoting respect for the norms of International Humanitarian Law. As set forth in the preamble of the Hague Cultural Property Convention (1954) “damage to the cultural property belonging to any people whatsoever means damage to the cultural heritage of all mankind”.
When the ICRC New Delhi blog interviewed Professor V. S. Mani, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Director of the School of Law, Jaipur National University and former President of the Asian Society of International Law (2011-2013), the legal luminary expressed serious concern on the damage that is today being caused to, what he calls, the “prized cultural heritage of the entire world” and the manner in which these “monuments are directly attacked”.
Citing the example of the 6th Century Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan and Palmyra’s ancient temples in Syria, Professor V.S. Mani emphasized the need to protect cultural property around the globe given that in comtemporary armed conflict we increasingly witness the targetting of monuments, places and structures of cultural significance. He also underscored the importance of sensitizing the youth about these issues.