The other day, the Deputy Minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, Kateryna Chuyeva, spoke online at the 17th meeting of the Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, where Ukraine is a member state. The meeting was held at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
A separate block of discussion was devoted to the preservation of cultural heritage in Ukraine. It included the report of the UNESCO Secretariat on already implemented and planned activities, the speech of the Ukrainian side, a statement from the group of countries-friends of Ukraine, and comments of the meeting participants.
“Today we have information about the damage or destruction of up to 1,000 sites of cultural heritage and cultural infrastructure. The figures will be verified by the end of the year, as monitoring has also begun in the de-occupied territories in the south and east of the country. Dozens of buildings of Ukrainian museums, libraries, and art schools now have damaged roofs and broken windows, or are destroyed,” said Kateryna Chuyeva in her speech.
The Deputy Minister emphasized that with the onset of winter and russian attacks on critical infrastructure, Ukrainian cultural institutions throughout the country, in particular, museums, libraries and archives, remain without heating and electricity, and need assistance. In addition, Kateryna Chuyeva reminded the audience that there are 7 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Ukraine, and 17 more sites are included in the Tentative List of World Cultural Heritage. Now they are all under threat.
The Deputy Minister called on the Committee to take active action, underling that Ukraine is ready to share its experience and work together with the participating countries on improving mechanisms of responsibility for violations of international humanitarian law, in particular, in the field of cultural heritage.
In turn, the Committee called on the participating states to continue to make financial contributions and provide equipment for the protection and restoration of cultural heritage during the war, in order to strengthen UNESCO’s activities in Ukraine, and appealed to UNESCO to continue providing all necessary assistance to Ukraine. In addition, the Committee approved the reallocation of $50,000 for the Secretariat’s purchase and delivery of equipment for the protection of cultural property in Ukraine.
It should be reminded that the Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict consists of twelve member states of the Second Protocol to the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.