Author: Colomba La Ragione, Giuliano Luongo, Marika Balzano – 22/10/2020
The rise of terrorism rooted in religious extremism struck many aspects of civil society at global level. A crucial aspect of such threats regards the attacks against historical monuments and cultural heritage. The international attention to the destruction of historical sites arose in 2017, after the attacks that took place in Mali; this set an important starting point for paving the way to joint international efforts, with particular engagement from UNESCO and UNODC.
On the basis of this background, in this paper we will discuss the topic of the protection of cultural heritage from physical harm deriving from assaults of religious extremist matrix: the scope of the papers consists in providing a summary of the international-level measures undertaken until now, discussing their effects – manifest and potential – while concluding with the future perspectives on this relevant issue.
The paper will introduce the topic by summarizing the main attacks of recent years; then, it will identify under a geographical profile the areas under most relevant threat in relation with the most active perpetrators, identifying the main terrorist groups involved in such actions. Consequently, it will report and comment on the main measures taken by the global community via international organizations and at national/governmental level. In conclusion, it will point out the necessary relation between practical security-related activities and socio-cultural promotion activities.
Key words: cultural heritage, UNESCO, International protection, terrorism.
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