By: Lailuma Noori
Hoot 20 (March 10) coincides with the day of Protection the Cultural Heritages of Afghanistan, a country whose cultural heritages and historic beauties have experienced the most tragedy attacks during the past one century. The remained cultural heritages of the country are showing the richness of historic civilization of this land as Afghanistan is located in the most golden centers of cultures from the perspective of geography.
Currently, Afghanistan government has taken necessary steps towards preservation and protection of the country’s cultural heritages and historic monuments with close cooperation of international organizations.
Protection and preservation of the cultural heritages is the responsibilities of governments. World Human Rights Declaration, conventions and all other international human rights documents have recognized the right of access to cultural heritages. Meanwhile, conventions and international humanitarian rights have also banned destruction and seizing the cultural heritages during war and armed disputes.
In internal laws of countries including Afghanistan, destruction and ruining cultural heritages and historic monuments are banned and considered as crime and there is punishment for perpetrators of such crimes. Therefore, the country’s all cultural heritages and historic monuments showing national identification of Afghans should be preserved and protected.
20 year ago, the ancient sandstone carvings in Afghanistan’s Bamyan province were once the world’s tallest Buddhas – but they were lost forever when the Taliban blew them up. The Taliban drew international revulsion when they blew up the centuries-old figures during their brief, iron-handed rule over the country as they went on a rampage against Afghanistan’s rich pre-Islamic cultural heritage. The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict is the first international treaty that focuses exclusively on the protection of cultural property in armed conflict. It was signed at The Hague, Netherlands, on 14 May 1954 and entered into force on 7 August 1956. As of September 2018, it has been ratified by 133 states. The convention should be observed in Afghanistan.
Cultural property is the manifestation and expression of the cultural heritage of a group of people or a society. It is an expression of the ways of living developed by a community and passed on from generation to generation, including the customs of people, their practices, places, objects, artistic endeavors and values.
The protection of cultural property during times of armed conflict or occupation is of great importance, because such property reflects the life, history and identity of communities; its preservation helps to rebuild communities, re-establish identities, and link people’s past with their present and future.