A Statement on the Conflict in Yemen and the Destruction of Its Cultural Heritage
July 21, 2015
We view with growing concern the major humanitarian crisis in Yemen resulting from the continuing conflict there. We deplore the loss of life and injuries suffered by the civilian population and the accompanying social disruption.
As organizations committed to the preservation of cultural heritage in the Middle East and worldwide, we condemn the destruction of many of the buildings, archaeological sites, and museums that testify to Yemen’s impressive past cultural achievements. These are not only of the greatest historical value to the Yemeni people but are part of our shared global cultural inheritance and responsibility.
Verified reports indicate that the sites and monuments that have been destroyed or severely damaged by bombing and other means include the World Heritage Site of the Old City of Sana’a; the old city of Sa’adah with the 1,200 year old mosque of Imam al-Hadi, on Yemen’s World Heritage Tentative List; the Dhamar Museum; the archaeological site of the pre-Islamic walled city of Baraqish; and the Marib Dam, among many other cultural heritage landmarks.
We call on all parties to the conflict and their allies to abide by the terms of the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. We urge them to respect and protect cultural property to ensure its well-being for the benefit of all humanity.
The Archaeological Institute of America is North America's oldest and largest organization devoted to the world of archaeology. The AIA promotes archaeological inquiry and public understanding of the material record of the human past to foster an appreciation of diverse cultures and our shared humanity (www.archaeological.org.)
The American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR), founded in 1900 and currently located at Boston University, is the preeminent organization of archaeologists and historians who initiate, encourage, and support research into, and public understanding of, the cultures and history of the Near East. (www.asor.org)
Dr. Andrew M.T. Moore
Dr. Susan Ackerman