The destruction of cultural goods by Russian troops in Ukraine is more than just an act of aggression in a war – “it is an attempt to undermine an identity”, says a joint statement by EU High Representative Josep Borrell and European Commissioners Mariya Gabriel and Jutta Urpilainen on the occasion of the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.
Held every year on 21 May, this Day, led by UNESCO, celebrates the wealth of world cultures and the crucial role of intercultural dialogue in achieving peace and sustainable development.
“Diversity is a great strength, but it is also fragile. In the past few months, we have witnessed the deliberate destruction of Ukrainian culture, of its institutions and its heritage by Russia’s unjustified military aggression. We have reacted swiftly to help protect Ukrainian cultural heritage, as well as to support Ukraine’s creative industry with several of our support measures,” says the statement.
It also says the destruction witnessed in Ukraine and in other parts of the world goes against everything that culture and diversity stand for: “It undermines dialogue, mutual understanding and human rights. It shows how destruction of cultural goods is more than just an act of aggression in a war. It is an attempt to undermine an identity.”
The statement reminds that several EU initiatives are focused on rehabilitating cultural heritage in post-conflict situations. It also says that the EU-funded Creative Europe programme safeguards, develops and promotes European cultural and linguistic diversity and competitiveness of the sectors through cultural activities, active participation, mobility and exchanges.
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