The International Council on Museums and Sites (ICOMOS) has recently released a statement responding to growing reports of mass killings and destruction of cultural property in Tigray (Ethiopia).

IFLA shares ICOMOS’s grave concern. Reports of civilian casualties in the conflict have been deeply concerning. In addition, there are growing accounts of the destruction, theft, and trafficking of the region’s cultural property. This includes reported loss and theft of documentary cultural heritage, including manuscripts housed in Tigrayan religious institutions.

IFLA echoes ICOMOS’s reminder that both Ethiopia and Eritrea have ratified the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. IFLA also seconds ICOMOS’s call to the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea to take immediate action to halt the damage of cultural property in Tigray and work to identify and return looted objects.

IFLA and ICOMOS are two of the founding members of the Blue Shield, together with ICOM (International Council on Museums) and the ICA (International Council on Archives).

Click here to read ICOMOS’s statement in full.