UN Peacekeepers Trash Prehistoric Cultural Treasures
UN Peacekeepers are accused of trashing prehistoric rock engravings in Western Sahara with spray paint.
Petar was here:
UN peacekeepers ruined prehistoric rock engravings in Western Sahara with spray paint.
The United Nations has pledged to investigate vandalism blamed on its peacekeepers in the disputed Western Sahara where cultural treasures including prehistoric rock engravings have been disfigured by graffiti.
Evidence suggests that its troops were responsible for some of the graffiti and a formal inquiry has been launched together with action to prevent further vandalism, said a statement by a U.N. mission in the northwest African territory.
Cultural riches of the Western Sahara, where Polisario guerrillas seek its independence from Morocco, include rock engravings depicting animals as well as remains of prehistoric buildings and places of worship buried in the desert.
The statement by the U.N. mission, know by its French acronym MINURSO, said it was committed to maintaining the highest standards among peacekeepers but that much of the graffiti had been done by others over many years.
A local rights activist said tourists and peacekeepers had caused the damage.
“MINURSO’s officers as well as European tourists and arts traffickers have squandered the old cultural riches of the region,” said Noureddine Dharif, a teacher and rights activist living in Laayoune, Western Sahara’s main town.
“They either disfigured the paintings with graffiti or removed many of them to be smuggled abroad for sale,” he told Reuters by telephone.
Ancient engravings of giraffes, buffalo and elephants were defaced within the past two years by UN peacekeeping forces, known by their French acronym, Minurso. (Times Online)
At least it wasn’t another UN child sex scandal.