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Russia will no longer be among the countries to be represented on the Executive Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – UNESCO, following the November 15 vote. Her non-election is historic.
In 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on UNESCO to expel Russia in response to its attacks on Ukrainian cultural heritage. The call was renewed by the Ukrainian parliament this July following Russian attacks on the historic center of Odessa, a World Heritage Site.
“The era of Russian influence has ended and rightfully so: Russian terrorists have no place at the head of significant international bodies,” Zelensky wrote in X.
According to the voting results published on the UNESCO website, Serbia, Albania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have been selected for Group II “Eastern Europe” of the board. Before the last vote, Russia was consistently among the countries represented in this group.
“Not a bad couple of weeks. First, Moscow was kicked out (of) the UN International Court of Justice in the New York elections for the first time since its founding; now Moscow is kicked out of the UNESCO executive body, again for the first time in its history,” he noted. the Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN Serhiy Kislitsa.
During an emergency meeting of the UN General Assembly, convened over Moscow’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions hours after massive Russian missile strikes on Ukrainian cities, Kislitsa described Russia as a “terrorist state”.
Russia has been expelled from a number of international bodies, including the Council of Europe and the UN Human Rights Council. On November 9, the Russian representative did not get a seat at the International Court of Justice, losing to the Romanian representative.
As of November 2, 327 cultural sites have been damaged or destroyed by Russian attacks on Ukraine, according to information released by UNESCO.
“Cultural heritage is what makes us rich and what we must preserve and pass on to future generations. That’s why I see it as one of the front lines of this war,” said Igor Poshivaylo, co-founder of the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Emergency Response Initiative.
|In addition to the statement made by the UN Secretary-General, UNESCO condemns the Russian attack in the buffer zone of the World Heritage Site “Historical Center of Odessa”, affecting buildings of cultural importance in the site. |
Coming just two weeks after the strike that destroyed a historic building in Lviv, this attack is the second so far in an area protected by the World Heritage Convention in violation of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.
This blow also coincided with the destruction of the Cultural Center for Folk Art and Art Education in the city of Nikolaev, a hundred kilometers away.
From a UNESCO press release of 23 July 2023.