Irina Bokova concerned about growing threats to cultural heritage in Mali
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova expressed her great concern following the desecration of the graves of Sidi Mahmoud in Mali by the Ansar Dine group on 4 May 2012. According to information UNESCO received, the front door of the mausoleum and its protective curtain have been burned and the people of Timbuktu who gather there every Friday for prayer were prevented from accessing it.
"This desecration is a sign of a change for the worse that is deeply concerning in the attacks on Malian heritage, already highly threatened in recent weeks. I call on all parties involved to ensure immediate protection of this World Heritage property, essential to preserving Mali’s rich culture, which is part of the indivisible heritage of humanity. This cultural heritage is our common property, and nothing can justify damaging it,” said the Director-General.
The mosques of Timbuktu and their 16 mausolea bear witness to the golden age of Timbuktu in the 16th century, and to the teaching of Islam at university level that took place there. Since the outbreak of conflict in northern Mali, the Director-General has called repeatedly for the protection of cultural heritage and for heightened vigilance against the illicit traffic of cultural property.
World Heritage Properties
- UNESCO has developed cultural heritage maps and a “Heritage Passport” to help protect Mali’s cultural heritage Monday, February 4, 2013
- Director-General visits Mali with French President François Hollande Sunday, February 3, 2013
- UNESCO determined to help Mali restore and rebuild its cultural heritage Wednesday, January 30, 2013
- The Director-General of UNESCO urges military forces to protect cultural sites in Mali during air raids and ground interventions Monday, January 14, 2013
- Creation of a Special Fund for the Safeguarding of Mali’s World Heritage sites Wednesday, July 25, 2012
- UNESCO Director-General of UNESCO calls for a halt to destruction of cultural heritage site in Timbuktu Saturday, June 30, 2012
- Heritage sites in northern Mali placed on List of World Heritage in Danger Thursday, June 28, 2012
- Government of Mali and UNESCO move to protect Timbuktu and other heritage sites in the north of Mali Thursday, May 24, 2012