Afghanistan: Schiller Institute Delivers Petition to UNESCO Headquarters

A delegation from the Schiller Institute and the Ibn Sina Center for Research and Development delivered on Feb. 22 a petition to UNESCO world headquarters in Paris, calling on the UN agency to re-establish relations with Afghanistan in order to help save the numerous cultural relics in the country. It urges UNESCO to restore activities of cultural cooperation with all nations, such as Syria, where the agency has selectively imposed sanctions and bans.

Schiller Institute chairwoman Helga Zepp-LaRouche and Paris Schiller Institute leader Karel Vereycken led the delegation, and issued statements to the media outside UNESCO headquarters. The initiative for the petition was taken at a conference on economic reconstruction held in Kabul in November 2023, and attended by a SI delegation, including Vereycken (cf. SAS 46, 47/23). It now has close to 600 signatories, including many Afghan experts, both women and men, as well as archeologists, historians, artists, diplomats, and personalities from five continents, among them former Kabul CIA Station chief Graham Fuller and award-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone. (The petition with signatures is available here.)

The SI delegation also delivered to UNESCO headquarters a statement issued Jan. 31 by Afghanistan’s Ministry of Information and Culture, requesting UNESCO and other international organizations to “support Afghanistan in preservation of its tangible and intangible cultural heritage, including the ones belonging to Islamic and non/pre-Islamic periods of its history….”

Speaking to the media in Paris, Helga Zepp-LaRouche pointed out that continuation of the sanctions “would mean to continue the geopolitical game which has been played with Afghanistan for a very long time. Our common cultural heritage must be above ephemeral strife, so we will fight for this for the sake of our identity as one human species, and as one common heritage.”

While UNESCO has not responded publicly on the issue, there are indications that the petition has been debated and that the agency may reconsider its decision.

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