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Statement by Ambassador LIU Jieyi at the Security Council Briefing on Destruction and Trafficking of Cultural Heritage by Terrorist Groups and in Situations of Armed Conflict

2017/03/24

China welcomes the convening by the United Kingdom of this meeting on the protection against the destruction and trafficking of cultural heritage by terrorist groups and in situations of armed conflict.

I thank Under-Secretary-General Feltman, Director-General Bokova, Executive Director Fedotov and Brigadier General Parrulli for their briefings.

Currently, in some parts of the world, ongoing armed conflicts and rampant terrorist activities not only seriously jeopardize the lives and properties in affected countries, but also add invaluable cultural heritage as a target of attacks and as a source of terrorist financing through smuggling and trafficking, thereby causing heavy losses to human civilization. The international community needs to scale up its support for countries in conflict areas and cut off the channels for terrorist groups smuggling and trafficking in cultural heritage in a joint effort to protect cultural heritage against harm caused by conflict.

First, efforts need to be scaled up to support States in situations of conflict in building up their national capacity for protection. Countries in conflict areas need to focus more attention on the protection of their cultural heritage, formulate relevant protection policies, establish early warning mechanisms, join relevant international cooperation frameworks and continuously enhance capacity-building for the protection of cultural heritage in armed conflict. The international community, while respecting the sovereignty of the countries in conflict areas, needs to provide constructive support and fully respect the national ownership of all cultural heritage.

Secondly, efforts to combat terrorism need to be intensified. Terrorism has become the main threat to cultural heritage in conflict areas. Resolution 2347 (2017), which was just adopted by the Council, provides a framework for cooperation in preventing terrorist groups from destroying cultural heritage and smuggling or trafficking in cultural heritage for terrorist financing. All countries should effectively implement the resolution and maximize the role of the relevant Council mechanisms and build an information network against the destruction and smuggling of cultural heritage by terrorist groups and resolutely crack down on terrorist activities to destroy, smuggle and traffic cultural heritage.

Thirdly, international cooperation should be further strengthened. All countries should strengthen cooperation in the field of cultural heritage protection and cooperate in information-sharing and law enforcement cooperation in the fight against the destruction and trafficking of cultural heritage by terrorist groups and in situations of armed conflict. The United Nations, the Security Council and the other specialized agencies, such as UNESCO and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, should leverage their respective professional advantage and strengthen their coordination in accordance with the division of labor to form an international synergy for the protection of cultural heritage in conflict areas.

China has been actively supporting and participating in international cooperation on endangered cultural heritage and will continue to work with the international community to make a positive contribution to the prevention of the destruction and trafficking in cultural heritage by terrorist groups and in situations of armed conflict.

(Photo by Hu Yousong, Xinhua News Agency)

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