1.         Hatra (Iraq) (C 277rev)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1985

Criteria  (ii)(iii)(iv)(vi)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/277/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1999-1999)
Total amount approved: USD 3,500
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/277/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/277/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2015

On 12 April 2015, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report for the four World Heritage properties in Iraq, as well as for ten of the eleven sites included in the country’s Tentative List. The report is available at: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/277/documents/.

The State Party reports that, between 2011 and 2013, the responsible authorities carried out conservation work in the central area of the ancient city and the zone of temples, and also developed a parking square and some green spaces. These works were favoured by a calm situation at the site. The State Party also reports that the responsible authorities have not been able to access the property since it has been occupied by ISIL and turned into a military camp, and that the only information available is the one provided by media.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

Other sources report that parts of the site, and notably sculptures on the walls, have been destroyed by armed groups, using weapons, explosives and bulldozers. This information has been communicated via Internet (either through articles or videos) or e-mail messages or orally by reliable experts, representatives of archaeological missions or the responsible authorities themselves who confirm that the property has been damaged but are not able to define the scale of destruction.

On 17 July 2014, an expert meeting held at UNESCO Headquarters led to the adoption of an Emergency Response Action Plan for the Safeguarding of Iraq’s Cultural Heritage (also see Part I of Document WHC-15/39.COM/7). The content of this action plan should be taken into consideration even if the prevailing situation makes its implementation difficult.

The confirmation by the State Party of the occupation of the property by ISIL and the absence of detailed information about the situation at the site raise a very high concern that the conditions to ensure the conservation and protection of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property are not optimal anymore. The property being also threatened by both ascertained and potential danger, in accordance with paragraphs 177 to 179 of the Operational Guidelines, the World Heritage Committee may wish to consider inscribing the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

It would be essential, as soon as the security conditions permit, that the responsible authorities carry out a rapid assessment of the state of conservation of the property and submit the results of this assessment to the World Heritage Centre, prior to any action on the ground.

Decision Adopted: 39 COM 7B.51

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 25 BUR V.281, adopted by the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee at its 25th session (UNESCO, 2001),
  3. Commends the State Party for its efforts to ensure the protection of the property in spite of the difficult prevailing situation;
  4. Expresses its great concern about the absence of information on the state of conservation of the property and requests the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre informed of the evolution of the situation on the ground;
  5. Considers that the optimal conditions are not present anymore to ensure the conservation and protection of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and that it is threatened by both ascertained and potential danger, in accordance with paragraphs 177 to 179 of the Operational Guidelines;
  6. Decides to inscribe Hatra (Iraq) on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  7. Also requests the State Party, as soon as it is feasible and in close consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, to develop a set of corrective measures and a timeframe for their implementation, as well as a Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR);
  8. Further requests the State Party, as soon as the security conditions on the ground allow the responsible authorities to visit the site, to carry out a rapid assessment of the state of conservation of the property and to submit the results of this assessment to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, prior to any action on the ground;
  9. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016.

Decision Adopted: 39 COM 8C.1

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the World Heritage List (WHC-15/39.COM/7B and WHC-15/39.COM/7B.Add) and the proposals for inscription of properties on the World Heritage List (WHC-15/39.COM/8B and WHC-15/39.COM/8B.Add),
  2. Decides to inscribe the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: