All parties in Yemen urged to protect the country's cultural heritage

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UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova

As the conflict escalates in Yemen, the head of the UN cultural agency (UNESCO) has urged all parties to protect the country's cultural heritage.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova issued her statement on Friday as Saudi Arabia and its allies continued to bomb the capital Sana'a which is controlled by Houthi rebels.

Saudi Arabia and other nations in the region have been requested by the government of Yemen to help its forces that are battling the rebels.

Stephanie Coutrix reports.

Ms Bokova said "the cultural heritage of a nation is essential for its citizens to preserve their identity, to benefit from their diversity and their history, and to build themselves a peaceful future".

She noted that the heritage of Yemen is unique, reflecting centuries of Islamic thought, rich exchange and dialogue.

Ms Bokova called on Yemenis and the countries in the region that are engaging in military operations in Yemen to do all they can to protect what she described as the country's "invaluable cultural heritage".

Experience shows that cultural heritage is never more vulnerable than during times of conflict, the UNESCO chief added.

She cautioned all parties to refrain from targeting, by shelling or by air strike, or using for military purposes cultural heritage sites and buildings.

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 52″

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