Resolution 2199 United Nations
TheSafeguarding of Syria`s Cultural Heritage
Authors: Mexico,Germany, Netherlands
Sponsors:France,China, Finland &amp Israel, Greece
Signatories:Greece,Jordan, Georgia, Japan, and Kuwait, Albania
Resolutionadopted by TheUnited Nations Security Council,
SafeguardingSyrian Cultural Heritage
TheGeneral Assembly, department of Education, Science, and CulturalOrganization (UNESCO), raised concerns about the cultural crisis inSyria, which is a threat to many archeological sites. A lot oflooting activities have been witnessed in many parts of the nationwhich has been an increasing trend.
OnDecember seventeenth year 2014, AAAS investigation confirmed thatthere had been illegal excavation activities of archaeologicalobjects in different parts of Syria. The UNESCO Conference stated theimportance of establishing secure cultural zones in Syria and Iraq.These concerns were tabled as not all of these illegal excavatorsoriginated from Syria, and there were numerous cases of missingcultural artifacts and collateral damages amidst gun conflicts in themuseums. On the fourth of June, 2016, Syria made a compact with theinternational experts and agreed to develop emergency initiativesmeant to protect their cultural heritage while UNESCO placed moreemphasis on the need to protect the cultural artifacts under threat.
Thereare concerns about the increase of illegal excavations since theSyrian conflict began because these activities lead to thedestruction of numerous historical and cultural sites. Many culturalproperties have gone missing from the country and end in illegaltraded. The director-general of UNESCO stated that “protectingculture is a moral responsibility and a security issue.”
UNESCOis concerned that the excavated cultural artifacts which have a greatcultural significance have turned to be the source of revenue for theillegal traders locally and internationally. The sites near theborders are more prone to looting because they offer goodopportunities for illegal transportation and exportation of theartifacts outside of Syria.
TheSyrian crisis has resulted in the transfer of many artifacts in thenational museums to secure places such as guarded warehouses. On 14July 2016, the senior director of UNESCO condemned the mass lootingof Aleppo, a National Museum. The northwest part of the region hasexperienced most of these collateral damages with most of the museumsin this area being looted.
Concernsarise as most of the looted artifacts are unaccounted for, and areperceived to be revolving around the black market while others mayhave been locked away by those who purchased them. On 2ndJune 2016, there was a special meeting held by UNESCODirector-General to discuss the protection of Syrian culturalartifacts.They recognized the need to protect and restore the Syrianarchaeological objects for the benefit of future generations.
Followingthe national campaign “Save Syria’s History,” UNESCO aims atquelling the current crisis by publicizing and raising the awarenessamong the residents about the current lootings in the museums, andthe excavation and trade of cultural artifacts. On May ninth 2016,UNESCO disapproved the destruction of the Maarrat al-Numan NationalMuseum.
Thecampaign serves to remind the Syrians of the need to protect theirunique archaeological artifacts for the future generations’benefit. A two-day workshop was held between the twelfth andthirteenth of May in the year 2013 as a continuation of the seminarheld in Amman, Jordan, to enlighten the Syrian nationalist on theinevitable need of securing their archaeological objects and the needto fight illegal trafficking of cultural artifacts.
UNESCOrecognized the initiatives by volunteer organizations among thelocals established throughout the country to protect the uniqueheritage and mobilize the locals to stand against the looting andillegal trade of their cultural artifacts. Emergency measures toprotect the Syrian archaeological sites were initiated in May 2015.The voluntary protection movements provide additional security to thearchaeological locations and museums. Their efforts in the recoveryof the looted objects are highly recognized and have exhibitedsuccessful outcomes.
Thereare efforts made to digitalize the Syrian cultural artifactsinventories and archives so that the identification process may besimplified and to enhance the identification of any stolen objects.UNESCO conducted a rapid assessment operation in Palmyra fromtwenty-fourth to twenty-sixth of April in the year 2016. Theinformation derived from the public interviews such as images,videos, and verbal descriptions, as well as that obtained from thenational and foreign tourists, help in developing these digitalizeddatabases. This information is useful in preventing the illegal tradeof artifacts out of Syria and possibly assist in the identificationand recovery of stolen cultural objects and their reinstitution totheir rightful places.
Ontwelfth of February of the year 2015, the United Nations SecurityCouncil adopted the Resolution 2199 condemning the damaging ofcultural artifacts and taking legal measures to fight illegal tradeof cultural artifacts from Syria and Iraq.
1.Publication of the secretary general’s report on the 29th ofJanuary 2016 indicated the way the ISIL threatened the internationalpeace and security. The report confirmed of UN’s efforts to assistthe member countries to combat the threat. The report encourages thepeople to adopt strict measures to combat any form of illegal trade.The ICT personnel, police, customs and art market officials areadvised to heighten their relationships with the private sectors andadopt stringent measures to fight illegal trafficking of culturalartifacts, especially in the online market.
2.UN members are required to report to UNESCO and INTERPOL about theobjects they have managed to recover. These authorities would assistto return these objects to their respective place safely, there byobserving the Security Council Resolution 2199 adopted in the year2015.
3. Reaffirming the need of building concrete bonds with thenon-public sectors would assist the fight against funding of terrorgroups, money laundering and many processes of criminal activities.It is in line with the Resolution 2253 which builds on Resolution2199 aiming at enhancing efficient intelligence operations.
4.UNESCO Director-General formally adopted the United NationsSecurity Council resolution on twelfth of February in the year 2015.The Council resolved to increase their efforts in protecting thearchaeological objects especially those in Syria and Iraq.
5.The United Nations Security Council’s Analytical Support andSanctions Monitoring Team published the S/2014/815 Report on Novemberfourteenth, 2014. It included the eminent threat posed by the ISIL tothe international community. This report followed the October 29thissue concerning the Al-Qaida and those individuals associated withthe terror group.
6.The United Nations imposes a reminder on the importance ofmaintaining peace in any nation so that growth and development can beachieved. Mass looting and destructions in Syria are detrimental tothe country’s economic progress and therefore there is a need toreinstate peace in the country.
7.There is the necessity of cooperation between UNESCO and SanctionsMonitoring Team in compiling reports so that informed and coordinateddecisions and reports can be made.
8.UNESCO Calls for the need to respect the individual and foreignculture and the development of security measures to safeguardvaluable cultural objects. It implies that the foreign looters shouldstop carrying out illegal excavations in Syria and the citizensshould stand against such acts. Security measures would ensure thatthe cultural artifacts are preserved for the welfare of the futuregenerations.