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30 Aug 2011

UNESCO urges Libyan heritage 'protection'
BY Pete Hayman

Leptis Magna is one of Libya's five UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Leptis Magna is one of Libya's five UNESCO World Heritage Sites

UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova has urged Libyan citizens, neighbouring countries and the global arts and antiquities trade to help 'protect' the country's cultural heritage.

Bokova spoke out amid the ongoing conflict in the North African country, with rebel forces currently fighting to oust long-time dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

Neighbouring states and the international arts and antiquities trade have been asked to work to ensure items that may have been looted or stolen are recovered.

Bokova said: "Experience shows that there is a serious danger of destruction during times of social upheaval. It has taught us to look out for looting by unscrupulous individuals, that often damages the integrity of artefacts and of archaeological sites.

"Careless dealers who buy these objects and fragments are in fact inciting more looting. It is therefore crucial that the international antiquities market be particularly wary of objects from Libya in the present circumstances."

Libya currently has five World Heritage Sites. Details: whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/ly

Image: Leptis Magna - one of Libya's World Heritage Sites


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