APPEAL TO PROTECT THE CULTURAL HERITAGE
The Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the members of which are Dubravko Lovrenović, Ljiljana Ševo, Amra Hadžimuhamedović, Zeynep Ahunbay (Turkey) and Tina Wik (Sweden), express their deep concern and voice their protest at the destruction of churches and monasteries in Kosovo and mosques in Belgrade and Niš. This is a repetition of the exploitation of the heritage as a means of expressing inter-religious and inter-ethnic hatred and mistrust.
The Commission to Preserve National Monuments appeals to the international community and to every institution and individual in Serbia and Kosovo to do all within their power to prevent the vandalism and destruction of the cultural heritage and to take urgent measures to protect the demolished and damaged buildings from further destruction and the removal of the materials of which they are built or which they contain. Anyone who fails to take such steps is effectively supporting and encouraging those who perpetrate these acts of vandalism.
APPEAL TO PROTECT THE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
The Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the members of which are Dubravko Lovrenović, Ljiljana Ševo, Amra Hadžimuhamedović, Zeynep Ahunbay (Turkey) and Tina Wik (Sweden), express their deep concern at the attacks of vandalism perrpetrated against religious buildings in Čipuljić, Bugojno Municipality, Balinovac in Mostar and Orahovo near Bosanska Gradiška. The Commission voices its protest against all those whose intention is to attribute the significance of the «other», «different» and «enemy» to the heritage and religious buildings in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The work of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments is based on the mutual understanding and interconnectedness of the entire heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina, whatever form it may take, as well as on the links between and emphasis on the value of diversity that constitutes the heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Any attempt to damage or destroy any part of that rich diversity is an assault against each and every individual in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The vandalism of a church is a direct provocation to retaliate with the vandalism of a mosque, and vice versa. The Commission expects the authorities at all levels, together with the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to take all available measures to prevent all such attempts to misuse, vandalize or destroy the heritage.
An application has been submitted for the Czar's Mosque in Orahovo near Bosanska Gradiška to designate it as a national monument, and pursuant to the provisions of Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina it is subject to protection for a period of one year. The Baba Bešir mosque in the Mostar neighbourhood of Balinovac (site and remains) is on the Provisional List of National Monuments of BiH, and pursuant to the Law on the Implementation of Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments (Official Gazette of the Federation of BiH nos. 2/02, 27/02 and 6/04) it is subject to the highest degree of protection. Other religious buildings and sites that come under attack but that do not enjoy the status of national monuments under the terms of the Law on the Implementation of the Commission are treated as protected property pursuant to the New Delhi Declaration.
During its two years of operations, the Commission to Preserve National Monuments has consistently focused on representing the heritage as a major peace-building factor and means of re-establishing civic confidence. The Commission therefore appeals to all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and to all religious communities and churches, to protect every religious building as if it were their own and to prevent any attempt to destroy any cultural property in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Chair of the Commission