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SEM Endorses the ICOM and ICOMOS Statement Opposing Deliberate Destruction of Heritage Sites

Wednesday, January 8, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Stephanie Sturgis
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The Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM), which while based in the United States of America, endorses without reservation the joint statement from the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) condemning any targeting and destruction of cultural heritage sites. The destruction of cultural heritage sites violates both federal and international laws; the Geneva Convention states as unlawful “any acts of hostility directed against the historic monuments, works of art or places of worship which constitute the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples” (ICRC 1987). SEM also calls for the protection of what UNESCO has designated “intangible cultural heritage”(see this link for designated practices in Iran alone). Heritage sites and practices are not simply the assets of nation states, but are also the materials that humanity in general uses to contemplate, learn from, and dream with. Important monuments and cultural practices anchor the memories, values, traditions, and belief systems of multiple communities, some of them at great physical and cultural distance from their immediate locations. The traces of history on the ground are precious to all of us, regardless of our identities or opinions. But those traces are preserved through the acts of local communities, whose safety and well-being are inextricably bound to heritage sites and practices. We strongly urge all parties in international conflicts to care for and protect local communities and the cultural sites, artifacts, and practices that connect them to the world.

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