To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with the government of Iraq about the destruction by extremists of cultural and historical sites in that country.
The Government is deeply concerned about the destruction of cultural, religious and historical sites in Iraq by the so called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The UK supported the passage of UNSCR 2199 which condemns the destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq and Syria, including the targeted destruction of religious sites and objects. The UK also co-sponsored a resolution on this issue the Human Rights Council in September. Most recently, on 27 February, the UNSC issued a statement condemning “the destruction of irreplaceable religious and cultural artefacts housed in the Mosul Museum and burning of thousands of books and rare manuscripts from the Mosul Library”.
The UK has expressed its strong support for the Government of Iraq’s efforts to preserve Iraq’s rich cultural heritage. This week, the Charge d’Affaires visited the recently re-opened Baghdad Museum and an archaeological excavation in Thi-Qar province, where the UK is supporting work to ensure that Iraq’s heritage is preserved for future generations.