Strongest condemnation for Trump's threat to destroy heritage sites in Iran.

Strongest condemnation for Trump's threat to destroy heritage sites in Iran.

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Nattha Chuenwattana started this petition to U.S. House of Representatives and

We, archaeologists and concerned citizens of the world, are concern about President Trump's threat to potentially attack 52 cultural heritage sites in Iran.  

On Saturday, President Trump announced that he considered destroying 52 Iranian sites that "some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture”. 

As an archaeologist, this is extremely troubling since some of those cultural sites might be the UNESCO recognized World Heritage Sites. This means that these sites were recognized as important sites to the world. Destroying these sites is not only an attack on Iranian culture but also an attack on the world's history.

Cultural heritage sites always caught between the war in this region such as the war in Iraq or Syria that destroyed many of the heritage sites. Those sites are prone to be destroyed, looted, eventually obliterated from our sight and memory as the result of military conflicts.

The fact that President Trump seems to conveniently made his announcement to destroy many heritage sites, as if they have no significant value to humanity, was concerning. His intention is also considered as a potential war crime by the Hague Convention of 1907 and the Federal law of the United States.

According to the Hague Convention: “...all necessary steps must be taken” to spare “buildings dedicated to religion, art, science, or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are collected.” “...any acts of hostility directed against the historic monuments, works of art or places of worship which constitute the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples...”

President Trump's announcement disregarded both the international convention and the US Federal Law. It poses a strong and direct threat to irreplaceable cultural heritage sites. Given the extreme gravity of threat in the President's message to the heritage sites of the world, we strongly urge the UN, UNESCO, and the US House of Representatives to publicly condemn his statement.

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