Blue Shield Statement on Palmyra
22 April 2016
Palmyra and the wider historic environment in Syria
In the latest Statement of the Blue Shield, the organisation welcomes the removal of Da’esh from the World Heritage Site of Palmyra and stresses that it stands ready to support and stand together with Syrian colleagues to work on stabilising the site and prepare it for the future.
However, Palmyra is still situated within a conflict zone and final decisions on the sites future are premature to make.
The Statement stresses that no clearing up or other action should take place until:
- A competent authority has declared the terrain clear of explosive devices and unexploded ordnance
- The necessary evidence of the Da’esh-controlled period has been collected
- All pieces of damaged objects from the museum have been carefully mapped and collected
- All damage to the site since the beginning of hostilities, and in particular the remains of monuments destroyed by Da’esh, have been mapped to facilitate and ensure that any potential re-construction might be as authentic as possible if so desired
- An assessment of any immediate necessary structural stabilisation has been made
- Recent mass graves have been investigated and cleared or dealt with appropriately
As a World Heritage Site Palmyra is contributing to UNESCO’s over-arching objective of creating a culture of peace in the world. It is currently difficult to imagine, but at some point in the future the site could, some might say must, be deployed as a reflective vehicle for reconciliation and peace, not only for all Syrians but for all people.
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: