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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Qatar takes on UNESCO role to protect cultural property in conflicts


Qatar will be represented by Qatar Museums in the committee as the nation solidifies its emphasis on preserving national heritage.

Qatar has been voted to join UNESCO’s 12 member Committee for Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

The Gulf nation will be represented by Qatar Museums (QM), which has for years ramped up its work to preserve and advocate for cultural heritage within the country.

“As a nation that prizes its legacy and history and views cultural exchange as an indispensable avenue toward international understanding, Qatar is honoured to join UNESCO’s Committee for Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict,” said QM Chairperson Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani.

“We look forward to bringing the expertise we have developed at Qatar Museums, and our recognised depth of experience in cultural diplomacy, to the imperative task of safeguarding endangered sites and properties, knowing that the damage or destruction of any single country’s heritage is also a loss for all humankind,” Sheikha Al Mayassa added.

Established by the 1999 Second Protocol to the Hague Convention, the committee is responsible for receiving requests for international assistance, as well as deciding the use of the fund for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

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It also monitors the implementation of the Protocol under the mission of “Heritage for Peace.”

Qatar’s conflict resolution

The Gulf nation has solidified its place as a mediator in global conflicts, with many nations relying on Qatar as being a physical and political middle ground to resolving disputes.

In late May, a ceasefire was brokered by Qatar between Israel and Hamas, putting an end to a deadly 11-day Israeli bombardment on the Gaza Strip that killed over 250 Palestinians.

During the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August, Qatar not only facilitated talks between the interim Afghan government and world powers, it also carried out evacuations of tens of thousands of Afghans and foreigners from Kabul.

Washington and a number of European countries also moved embassies from Kabul to Doha to allow officials to safely carry out diplomatic operations outside of Afghanistan.

In Lebanon, Qatar made its mark on the cultural world in a partnership between Qatar National Library (QNL) and the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas (ALIPH), UNESCO and others to help in the reconstruction of key cultural organisations and school libraries across Lebanon that were damaged by the explosion in Beirut’s port last year.

QNL provided rehabilitation and restoration services of libraries while ALIPH provided complementary funding.

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