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Subject: Cultural heritage in Iraq

Cultural heritage in Iraq

From: Olivia Primanis <primanis>
Date: Wednesday, April 16, 2003
ICOM President Jacques Perot urges all ICOM Committees and
Affiliated Organisations to disseminate as widely as possible the
following UNESCO press release.

    Communique
    Office of the Spokeswoman/ La Porte Parole
    Contact: m.de-pierrebourg [at] unesco__org
    +39 6 58 55 34 10
    Fax: +39 6 58 55 33 49
    UNESCO, April 15, 2003

    Koichiro Matsuura: Libraries and Archives must be protected as
    essential parts of the rich heritage of Iraq As the evidence of
    the destruction of many parts of the cultural heritage in Iraq
    is increasing, the Director-General of UNESCO, Koichiro
    Matsuura, today warned of the devastation and looting of
    libraries and archives in the country, which may have
    irreversible consequences for maintaining  and strengthening the
    country's cultural identity. "I reiterate my urgent call to take
    immediate measures of protection and surveillance of Iraqi
    cultural institutions to which libraries and archives belong",
    declared Mr Matsuura.

    "Libraries, archives and manuscripts must be preserved as
    essential parts of the rich heritage of Iraq. Libraries are the
    essence of knowledge societies. Nearly twenty centuries of
    written history of mankind are in danger; everything must be
    done to protect them from looting and destruction ", Mr.
    Matsuura said.

    "Measures must be taken to protect governmental records that are
    held by archives, since they are vital for the functioning of
    public administration after the war, for example, to protect the
    legal, financial and contractual rights of Iraqi citizens", Mr
    Matsuura added.

    Through its Memory of the World Programme
    <URL:http://www.unesco.org/webworld>, , UNESCO is recognized as
    the international lead agency for the protection of the world's
    documentary heritage in libraries and archives and has
    established Guidelines both for the safeguarding of vital
    records in the event of armed conflicts and for the management
    of state security archives of former repressive regimes.


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