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Mr. Federico Mayor
Director General
U N E S C O
Paris

Belgrade, 2 April 1999

 

Mr. Director General,

Since 24 March, a brutal NATO aggression, spearheaded by the USA, against the FR of Yugoslavia, a sovereign country, a founding member of the United Nations and a Member State of UNESCO has been going on. This has grossly violated the fundamental principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and dealt the most dangerous blow so far to the entire system of international relations. For the first time after the Second World War, a sovereign European country has been exposed to aggression and for the first time the mightiest military alliance is cooperating directly with a separatist/terrorist organization in attacking the sovereignty and integrity of a member of the international community.

The aggressor is massively bombing civilian targets - towns and villages, many facilities of infrastructure and cultural monuments across the Yugoslav territory. The countries, particularly those from Europe, taking part in the destruction of the cultural monuments in the territory of the FR of Yugoslavia, know full well their civilizational value. They are not only Serbian and Yugoslav cultural heritage but yours as well, since many of them have been proclaimed to be under UNESCO protection.

Destroyed or damaged are not only the cultural and architectural monuments but many scientific and other institutions as well. More than 100 schools in entire FR of Yugoslavia have been damaged so that classes had to be suspended in schools and universities which will have unforeseeable consequences. We expect to hear the voice of your conscience In protecting 2,787 registered cultural monuments, out of which 1,300 are located in the Serbian and European territory - Kosovo and Metohija.

Most directly affected are four sites included in the List of the UNESCO World Heritage: Durmitor National Park, Kotor (which has been endangered on a daily basis by NATO missiles), Stari Ras - Sopocani and Studenica. These monuments have to be immediately placed on the List of Endangered Sites as well as Decane monastery (from 14th century) and Biogradska Gora National Park which have been nominated for the List ofWorld Heritage and several dozens of cultural monuments in Kosovo and Metohija whose list has already been transmitted to UNESCO. I shall mention some of them: Patriarchate of Pec (13th century) and Bajrakli Mosque in Pec (15th century), the Church of Virgin Ljeviska (14th century), St. Archangel monastery in Prizren (14th century), Sinan Pasha's mosque in Prizren (17th century), ancient Ulpiana (14th century) and Gazimestan (14the century). Gracanica, a monastery from the 14th century, famous for its frescos, has been repeatedly shelled and damaged. Seriously endangered are monasteries Ostrog (16th century) and Moraca (13th century) as well as old town of Cetinje in Montenegro. Daily air strikes against Fruska Gora most directly endanger the biggest monastery complex in Europe (35 in all, dating back to 16th century).

Also endangered are some 1,700 natural beauty sites in the FR of Yugoslavia.

Under the pretext of preventing a "humanitarian catastrophe" in Kosovo and Metohija and allegedly protecting "human rights", bombs and cruise missiles which do not make a national or ethnic distinction, create a genuine humanitarian catastrophe, unseen in Europe since the Second World War. Such a blatant act of aggression, raining death on hundreds of civilians has to be stopped immediately. The States committing such acts, bear political, material and any other responsibility and shall be judged by history.

I therefore call upon you to raise your voice of reason and immediately act within your powers in order to stop the aggression, and particularly barbaric destruction of cultural heritage of the FR of Yugoslavia, Europe and the world. It is of utmost importance that you personally engage in preventing these anti-civilizational acts against humanity and basic principles of UNESCO.

Please accept, Director General, the assurances of my respect.

Zivadin Jovanovic
(sgd)

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