The protection of the cultural heritage of Cyprus in the UN Security Council
"The protection of cultural heritage is a priority for Cyprus"
The protection of cultural heritage is a priority for Cyprus since it itself is a victim of the destruction and destruction of cultural heritage as a result of foreign invasions.
This was highlighted, among other things, at the informal meeting of member states of the Security Council (Arria Formula) on the protection of cultural heritage.
The meeting was entitled "Protection of Cultural Heritage in Armed Conflicts" and was convened by France and the United Arab Emirates, with the co-sponsorship of the Republic of Cyprus and Italy.
The Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Andreas Chatzichrysanthou speaking at the informal meeting referred to the 2017 UN resolution as an important development as for the first time the Security Council focuses on the protection of cultural heritage as a factor of peace and stability.
"This is the first decision with an emphasis on the protection of cultural heritage and its important contribution to peace and security, as a source of stability and integration, as well as a driver of reconciliation and resilience," said the Permanent Representative.
He also referred to Security Council resolutions 2199 (2015) and 2253 (2015) and General Assembly resolutions 73/130 and 76/16, on the "Return or return of cultural property to countries of origin" which have highlighted the connection between destruction of cultural heritage, trafficking of cultural goods and financing of terrorism.
Mr. Hatzichrysanthou highlighted Cyprus' initiatives to protect cultural heritage at the international level such as the adoption of the three-year resolution by the Human Rights Council on cultural rights and the protection of cultural heritage.
He noted that deliberate destruction is a war crime under the Rome Statute and violates human rights as through attacks on cultural heritage, the perpetrators seek to uproot the cultural and ethnological connection of local populations from their land.
“Cyprus has a long and painful history of foreign invasions that led to the destruction and looting of its cultural heritage. Therefore, we make it a priority to effectively contribute to the efforts of the international community to combat illegal trafficking and to ensure the repatriation of stolen cultural goods" said Mr. Hatzichrysanthou.
Special mention was made of the Council of Europe Convention on Offenses Concerning Cultural Property. The Ambassador emphasized that the Nicosia Convention is the first International Convention that criminalizes offenses against cultural property and called on all UN member states to accede to the Nicosia Convention.
The Convention on Offenses Relating to Cultural Property aims to prevent and combat the illicit trafficking and destruction of cultural property, within the framework of the Agency's action to combat terrorism and organized crime.
It is open for signature by any country in the world and aims to strengthen international cooperation to combat these crimes, which are destroying the world's cultural heritage.
Mr Hatzichrysanthou stated that Cyprus, as the co-chairing country of the Group of Friends for the Protection of Cultural Heritage together with Italy, intends to revive the Group of Friends in the very near future, to bring the protection of cultural heritage to the heart of the system of the United Nations.