ICOMOS Statement on Mali

2 July 2012

On Saturday 30 June 2012 information was received and verified about the destruction of the Sidi Mahmoud, Sidi Moctar and Alpha Moya Mausoleums , three of the 16 mausoleums that form part of the World Heritage property of Timbuktu in Mali. News of further destruction of mausoleums was received on Sunday, 1 July and Monday, 2 July 2012. 

ICOMOS is deeply saddened and concerned about the escalating situation. It notes the decision adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in St. Petersburg, which states that there is no correlation between the property’s inscription in the List of World Heritage in Danger a few days ago, at the request of the State Party of Mali, and this current destruction of part of a World Heritage property. 

ICOMOS is also concerned about potential threats to other World Heritage and cultural heritage properties in northern Mali and to the rich living traditions of the area. ICOMOS supports the decisions of the World Heritage Committee and expresses its willingness to assist the State Party of Mali in implementing possible measures to safeguard the Outstanding Universal Value of Timbuktu and to conserve its cultural heritage. 

The Republic of Mali is a signatory to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its first Protocol of 1961 that imposes an obligation to protect cultural heritage in times of armed conflict. As of 2 July 2012 Mali has also ratified the Second Protocol of the Hague Convention which calls for the enhanced protection for cultural property of the greatest importance for humanity. 

ICOMOS reiterates the call made by the Blue Shield earlier this year to all parties involved in the protection of cultural heritage as an invaluable testimony for humankind to help protect the fragile witnesses of Mali’s, and the world’s, history and evolution.