Bulgarian UNESCO Chief Condemns Looting in Egypt
The head of the United Nations cultural agency has expressed grave concern for Egypt’s cultural heritage as security forces continue a crackdown on Islamists.
Irina Bokova’s statement followed reports that a national museum in the city of Minya had been looted and that several monuments of religious importance in Fayoum and the capital, Cairo had been destroyed.
“I firmly condemn the attacks against the cultural institutions of the country and the looting of its cultural property,” said the Director-General of the UN Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova.
“This constitutes irreversible damage to the history and identity of the Egyptian people.”
Bokova, who is Bulgarian, urged Egyptian authorities to ensure the protection and integrity of museums, sites and historical buildings, including those of religious importance.
She also appealed to the Egyptian authorities to prevent the trafficking of cultural objects stolen from the Malawi National Museum.
“Egypt’s exceptional cultural heritage is not only an inheritance of the past, reflecting its rich and diverse history; it is also a legacy for future generations and its destruction seriously weakens the foundations of Egyptian society,” said Irina Bokova.
She reiterated her agency’s readiness to provide technical support and mobilize the partner organizations of the 1970 Convention against Illicit Traffic of Cultural Heritage, including the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and the World Customs Organization.
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