Calling Attacks ‘a War Crime’, Secretary-General Strongly Condemns Destruction of Cultural Heritage Sites in Iraq

6 March 2015
SG/SM/16570-IK/701

Calling Attacks ‘a War Crime’, Secretary-General Strongly Condemns Destruction of Cultural Heritage Sites in Iraq

The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest terms the continuing acts of terror and violations of international humanitarian law by Da’esh, including the systematic campaign of destruction of cultural patrimony in Iraq as illustrated by the latest attack on the archaeological site of Nimrud.

The Secretary-General is deeply disturbed by these events and calls on political and religious leaders in the region to raise their voices in condemnation of those unacceptable attacks.  The deliberate destruction of our common cultural heritage constitutes a war crime and represents an attack on humanity as a whole.

The Secretary-General will meet today with the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Irina Bokova.  He reiterates her call on the entire international community to ensure that these attacks will not continue and that the illicit traffic of cultural artefacts, which also directly contributes to the financing of terrorism, will be prevented.

For information media. Not an official record.