Heritage is often lost or damaged in conflict as a consequence of development (both buildings and agricultural expansion). It’s important to note that the loss of heritage from illegal development is a common problem in peacetime. However, during conflict, the staff charged with protecting sites – whether heritage staff or law enforcement – are frequently [...]
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Another threat, which is often forgotten, is the consequences of neglect. During conflict and following environmental disaster, staff may not be able to access archives, historic buildings, libraries, museums, or sites, disrupting essential routine maintenance. Historic documents, books, objects, buildings, and sites need constant maintenance and without such care can rapidly deteriorate. Delicate archives, books, [...]
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Looting is often regarded as an unfortunate side-effect of armed conflict and environmental disaster, but it can cause extensive damage in its own right. History has many examples of victorious armies removing the cultural property of the enemy they have just defeated as the ‘spoils of war’, which is known today as pillage (that is, looting [...]
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Some sites are damaged by their deliberate use and reuse. Although, at first glance, this may seem to be an issue of awareness, in many cases, those occupying sites are only too aware of their historic importance. For example, a group that occupied the historic Great Umayyad Mosque in Aleppo, Syria, part of the World [...]
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Cultural property can also be damaged by deliberate targeting of two types. Put (very) simply, a site may be deliberately targeted if it has become a military objective – for example, in 2016, ARA News reported “The terror group [ISIS] has a plan to avoid the US-led coalitions airstrikes and “the best way is to [...]
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It has been suggested frequently that most cultural property is destroyed during conflict through collateral damage (the unintentional or incidental damage, affecting facilities, equipment or personnel that are not justifiable military objectives) or accidental damage (the unintentional or incidental damage affecting facilities, equipment, or personnel). That is to say, either via the process of expected [...]
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If cultural property protection is not identified as an issue either before an armed conflict, or when prioritising activity following an environmental disaster, no resources will be allocated to it. No preparations will be made for its protection (such as practicing emergency evacuation in museums), and no military unit will be allocated any responsibility for [...]
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A considerable amount of heritage has been damaged and destroyed by fighting simply because the armed forces were not aware of it, or of its importance. Mitigation: A number of factors have worked to change this and increase awareness, including: the negative press following the destruction of heritage in Iraq after the 2003 invasion by [...]
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