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TO THE PROFESSIONAL COMMUNITY AND
THE PROTECTION OF HERITAGE WORKERS
FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD

STOP THE DESTRUCTION OF THE WORLD'S AND NATIONAL CULTURAL AND NATURAL HERITAGE IN FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE

 

Belgrade, 5th April, 1999

PLEASE RAISE YOUR VOICE AGAINST THE DESTRUCTION OF THE WORLD'S AND NATIONAL CULTURAL AND NATURAL HERITAGE IN THE NATO ALLIANCE AGRESSION ON FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA WHICH STARTED
ON 24th MARCH, 1999!

Every armed conflict is, in advance, the danger to the cultural and natural heritage. Since the bombing in Yugoslavia is not stopping for a moment, and the targets are proved to be not only military, every single cultural and natural properties threatened by devastation.

We are expressing our protest and deepest disappointment with the destruction of the cultural heritage in Yugoslavia, as well as our protest against the silence of our colleagues from all over the world, including UNESCO with all its Councils and Committees for the protection of the cultural and natural heritage.

The testimonial culture-historical significance of the cultural and natural heritage of Yugoslavia, in scribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO, is well known, and yet there is not a single voice, a single thought from our colleagues about the immunity of the cultural property and granting it a special protection.

We remind You that the following monuments are inscribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO:

Natural and Culture-Historical Region of Kotor in 1979, StariRas and Sopocani in1979, DurmitorNational Park in 1980, Studenica Monastery in 1986 and are likely to be destroyed if the bombing continues. "When a cultural or natural site is placed on the World Heritage List, that is not the end of the story. If it is to stay on the List, the characteristics and qualities that justified it sinscripti on must be preserved."

We are very concerned, in the same way, about the numerous monuments of National Cultural and Natural Heritage. Without their testimony it is impossible to write not only Yugoslav, but also the Balkan and the European history. Archeological, historic and natural sites, urbanistic architectural ambient, churches and monasteries, as well as the moveable cultural property in more than 300 museums in Yugoslavia, are all seriously endangered by this aggression. These cultural and natural sites constitute a common heritage to be treasured as unique testimonies to the enduring past. Their disappearance would bean irreparable loss for each and every one of us. The preservation of this common heritage concerns us all.

At this moment, we are already confronted with serious devastation of the monasteries which represent the Medieval heritage of Serbian and Byzantine culture:

We are calling Your attention to the International Conventions and Other Instruments released as Legal Instruments by UNESCO, especially the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, Hague, 14th May, 1954, entered in Force on 7th August, 1956. We are also calling on the Recommendation concerning the Safeguarding of the Beauty and Character of Landscapes and Sites, of 1962, Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, of 1972, and the Recommendation concerning the Safeguarding and Contemporary Role of Historic Areas, of 1976.

We are also calling Your attention to the ICOM and ICOMOS Statutes.

"...preserving cultural property and rendering it accessible constitute... means of encouraging mutual understanding among peoples and thereby serve the cause of peace..." Recommendations concerning the Preservation of Cultural Property End angered by Public and Private Works.

 


The Initiators of the Appeal:

 


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