Russia faces walkout from UNESCO meeting on Ukraine crisis – News

UN reports proven damage to at least 193 Ukrainian cultural sites since Russian incursion, including museums, cultural centers and historic buildings



By AFP

Published: Sat 1 Oct 2022, 1:12 PM

Representatives from dozens of countries walked out of an international culture conference on Friday to protest the crisis in Ukraine when Russia’s representative spoke.

The boycott took place during the final session of the World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development convened by UNESCO in Mexico City.

Lithuanian Culture Minister Simonas Kairys denounced Moscow’s “unjustifiable and illegal aggression” against Ukraine, in a statement he said was on behalf of 48 countries.

Kairys told the meeting that UNESCO had verified damage to at least 193 Ukrainian cultural sites since the Russian incursion, including museums, libraries, cultural centers and historical buildings.

Dozens of attendees stood and left the auditorium as Russian delegate Sergey Obryvalin addressed the conference, dismissing the criticism as “unacceptable”.

At the end of the three-day meeting, billed as the largest of its kind in 40 years, 150 states adopted a declaration affirming that culture is a “global public good”, UNESCO said.

They called for “substantial regulation of the digital sector, in particular of the major platforms, for the benefit of online cultural diversity, the intellectual property rights of artists and equitable access to content for all”, he said. added.

Governments also pledged to step up the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property and called on art sellers not to offer for sale objects whose provenance is not proven.

UNESCO has announced the creation, in collaboration with Interpol, of a virtual museum of stolen cultural property.

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Christi C. Elwood