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3 June, 2015

The Blue Shield offers its unequivocal support for the United Nations Secretary General’s statements (26 May 2015). We agree that the only durable resolution to the current crisis in Yemen is an inclusive, Yemeni-led, peaceful transition process towards a negotiated political settlement. We share his aspiration that a long and lasting peace can be achieved as quickly as possible so as to alleviate the current intolerable humanitarian situation.

We also offer our total support for UNESCO’s Director General’s calls on all parties to protect Yemen’s unique cultural heritage.

Blue Shield

Over the last few days and weeks there have been extremely worrying reports of destruction of cultural property including the bombing of the World Heritage Site of the Old City of Sana’a and the old city of Sa’adah, which is included on Yemen’s World Heritage Tentative List; the bombing of the Dhamar Museum; the reported damage to the archaeological site of the pre-Islamic walled city of Baraqish; and the reported targeting and destruction of the 1,200 year old mosque of Imam al-Hadi, located in the city of Saada; or the reported damage to the 10th century BC historic castle of Al-Cairo (Al-Kahira or Al Qahira), overlooking the city of Taiz; and the destruction of the Marib Dam.

We urge all parties, and in particular Yemen and Saudi Arabia, which are both States Parties to the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, to abide by the terms of the 1954 Convention. We ask that they not use cultural property for military purposes, to refrain from any targeting of cultural property, and to avoid wherever possible any collateral damage to cultural property.

The world needs to take humanitarian action to help protect those who have been most harmed by this conflict and to help to protect the remains of their, and our, common past.

The Blue Shield

The Blue Shield is the protective emblem of the 1954 Hague Convention, the international treaty formulating rules to protect cultural heritage during armed conflicts. The Blue Shield network consists of organisations dealing with museums, archives, libraries, monuments and sites.

The International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS), founded in 1996, comprises representatives of the four non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in this field:

Email: france.desmarais@icom.museum / peter.stone@newcastle.ac.uk