In November 2015, the 38th General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted a Strategy for the reinforcement of the organization’s actions for the protection of culture and the promotion of cultural pluralism in the event of armed conflict.
This document sets the path for the Organizations’ work through two key objectives: on the one hand, strengthening Member States’ ability to prevent, mitigate, and recover the loss of cultural heritage and diversity as a result of conflict; and on the other hand, incorporating the protection of culture into humanitarian action, security strategies and peacebuilding processes.
The recent large-scale and systematic destruction and looting of cultural sites has highlighted the strong connection between the cultural, humanitarian and security dimensions of conflicts and terrorism. Attacks against cultural heritage and diversity are also attacks against people, their rights, and their security. Under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the deliberate destruction of cultural heritage is a war crime.