Виступ Постійного представника України при ООН Сергія Кислиці на засіданні за формулою Арріа ""знищення культурної спадщини як наслідок російської агресії проти України"

Виступ Постійного представника України при ООН Сергія Кислиці на засіданні за формулою Арріа ""знищення культурної спадщини як наслідок російської агресії проти України"

Excellencies, distinguished colleagues,

I would like to thank the delegations of Albania and Poland for their dedicated efforts in organizing this event. I am also grateful to all the delegations that have co-sponsored the meeting.

The large list of co-sponsors demonstrates the significance of the issue as well as the need to keep the situation concerning russian crimes against Ukrainian cultural heritage in our focus.

My deep appreciation goes to the briefers, Director of the World Heritage Centre Mr Lazare Eloundu Assomo, Deputy Minister Kateryna Chueva, President of ICOMOS Ms Teresa Patricio and Director of Polish Support Center for Culture in Ukraine Katarzyna Zalasińska.

They have provided the audience with a comprehensive picture of the devastating impact the russian invasion is having in the cultural domain.

Let me mention the initial lines from the UNESCO Constitution. [I quote] “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed”.

It means, in particular, that as long as the minds of putin and his minions are set on attacking Ukraine, our cultural heritage will remain under threat as a deliberate target. Their reason is clear and simple. If you are going to destroy the national identity you should deprive the people of their culture, in particular by destroying their heritage sites. Historical parallels could easily be drawn.

In addition to the main categories of crimes at the Nuremberg trials, crimes against culture took a special place. In Nuremberg they were included in the group dealing with material damage. It must be noted that the documents on crimes against culture and looting of cultural property were presented mainly in a limited amount and allegations of loss of cultural property were based primarily on summary data of losses.

The role of many Nazi structures actively engaged in displacement, export and destruction of cultural property, was often not represented at the Nuremberg trials. Historical lessons must be learned and taken into account as we focus our efforts on holding russia accountable.

Now the perception of crimes against culture encompasses not only the destruction, damage or displacement of cultural heritage, but also the spiritual heritage of people and their historical memories, called code of identity. It is worth mentioning that following the illegal temporary occupation of Crimea, Ukraine raised before the International Court of Justice the issue of “imposition of a policy of Russian ethnic dominance, pursuing the cultural erasure of non-Russian communities through a systematic and ongoing campaign of discrimination”.

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has led to further consolidation of the practices of cultural genocide. No-one responsible should go unpunished. Yesterday, the President of Ukraine stated that a Special Tribunal regarding the crime of russian aggression against Ukraine should be established. It should be a tool to ensure the fair and lawful punishment of those who launched the chain of tragedies and disasters – the biggest since the Second World War.

In addition, an instrument for compensation for all damages caused by Russian aggression, including those of cultural heritage, is also needed. We believe that such compensation can be ensured from russian assets and funds located outside russia. We will build upon the legacy of Nuremberg, which remains relevant, although requires development and adjustment to the current realities.

Dear colleagues, Crimes against our culture testify quite clearly that Ukraine now serves as a shield against modern-day barbaric tribes. Despite being equipped with sophisticated weapons, they have the same motivation as their predecessors hundreds and thousands of years ago and the same motivation as those who destroyed World Heritage sites in Timbuktu exactly ten years ago – in June-July 2012.

It would be good to convey the summary of our discussion to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO. Indeed, it would be good. However, this organ is chaired by a representative of the aggressor state – putin’s envoy to UNESCO, ambassador kuznetsov. Moral is at rock bottom, isn’t it? Welcome to the absurd and contradictory world of the United Nations!

 What is important, however, is to ensure that all russian war criminals are treated as the Nazi minister of “public enlightenment and propaganda”, and his henchmen from Reich Chamber of Culture, even if today they continue scandalously to sit in the Chair of UNESCO World Heritage Committee!

I thank you!